Andrea Costopoulos: 125 Live shouldn't be in hot water over using its own pool
As a member of 125 Live from the day it opened and as a past board member of 125 Live, I have something to say about who and when the swimming pools at 125 Live and the Rochester Recreation Center get used.
There is no reason for these decisions to be made in the public arena. It is so disappointing to see the Rochester City Council member Shaun Palmer spend 10 minutes during a council meeting being critical of the arrangement that 125 Live has with the Rec Center concerning the use of the two pools that the organizations share.
The warm water pool was built for 125 Live and our senior community. This population is the largest group to use the pool by far currently, though it is open to anyone age 18 or older. 125 Live has access to the larger pool at the Rec Center only a few hours per week.
The management of 125 Live and the Rec Center have negotiated the use of these pools since 125 Live opened its doors in November 2016. It seems to me that 125 Live and the Rec Center have a process to make these decisions, the authority to make the decisions and the most knowledge about how to use these pools to benefit the overall community. This arrangement about sharing the use of the swimming pools in their two facilities really doesn’t belong at council meeting.
Palmer spent his time commenting and asking questions which seem to elevate the needs of the Rochester Swim Club and put his bias toward them in plain sight. His goal seemed to be to put the needs of the swim club above the needs of the 4,500 members of 125 Live. It looked like he was encouraging the council to make decisions that will hurt 125 Live and the community it serves. His overt display of bias, which verged on smugness, clearly irked some members of the council, but unfortunately he was not called out on this, as he should have been. As I understand it the Rochester Swim Club, which isn’t financially supported by the City, negotiates its use of the City’s pools through the Rec Center.
Palmer appears to be willing to put the needs of the swim clubs he has been involved with for years before the needs of 125 Live, our local community center. If he succeeds, 125 Live may suffer in terms of finances, programming, membership numbers and their ability to serve the community, which they currently do wonderfully.
If his goal for 125 Live is to have its funding or member access to 125 Live decreased, it could easily impact the 3,000 free memberships and the hundreds of other members who benefit from decreased, sliding fees. If this would happen, 125 Live will be forced to charge them all extra.
If you look at the data about the senior community in Rochester, you will see that they have very limited and fixed incomes. Their needs should take priority in a building that was built for their use and for the large numbers of members who use the facility daily.
Andrea Costopoulos lives in Rochester.