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November 19, 2010


The new group that is planning to save Bath House #2 has met and begun to take action. They are so busy that they haven’t even botherd to choose a name yet. And note that Mr. Freeman is now making noises in favor of keeping the pool open. Here is the report of the meeting written by Jacqui Williams.

If you want to get involved in saving Bath House #2, contact Willie White of AVillage email at .

Report by Jacqui Williams:

On Monday, November 15 the second meeting was held at Public Bath House #2 for a tour, comments by Council member Lester Freeman and to learn what people had done or found out since the previous week.

Recreation Commissioner John D ‘Antonio was a no show for the tour so we don’t know what was pointed out to legislators the previous week. I did call his office and am waiting for a response. Please join me in sharing your disappointment to (518) 434-5699 or

Council member Freeman apologized for his failure to join the conversation or attend the press conference and shared information on the deficit the City is facing and how he would love to find a way to keep the pool open. Questions were posed regarding annual budget, usage, existence of a previous comprehensive plan to renovate it and time frame to present alternatives. While he agreed the building’s needs did not arise overnight, we cannot simply point fingers at what was not done in the past while we state what we’d like for the future.

There was a lot of conversation regarding the priority of saving jobs rather than buildings or services, short and long term benefits of bringing the pool up to standards/energy efficient, how the current approximately quarter million dollar operating budget is spent and alternatives to permanently closing the pool and building.

Time is not in our favor to generate increased usage or sufficient funding to justify the Council keeping the pool in the current budget at its previous level. However that does not mean the pool has to be closed permanently. We, the community have to look for ways to make this facility more visible and thought of as a vital service in the South End. Ways that were suggested included;

  • Develop marketing piece to let people know where the pool is, when it is open to increase usage – Jacqui
  • Continue information sharing via this list, invite others to join and let the public know what is happening - everyone
  • Continue writing/calling mayor and council members with desire to keep pool open with personal messages – everyone
  • Better signage – Joann Morton
  • Get budget and usage figures for Public Pool #2 and comparables for Arbor Hill Pool – Lester Freeman
  • Find out if Block by Block assessment was completed and where a summary can be found
  • Whether anything about the pool was covered in the 2030 conversations
  • Ask NYSERDA for an energy audit
  • Willie White of AVillage, Inc. is in conversation with Congressman Tonko’s office for assistance
  • Research potential grants from NYSERDA and others to help with cost of repairs, upgrade
  • Contact Police athletic League to see if they would consider using as headquarters – Lester Freeman and Steve Winters
  • Investigate Share Work program of Department of Labor – Joanne Morton
  • Contact 501 (c ) 3 organizations such as SEIC, Salvation Army, Trinity Alliance and local churches to see if they would agree to be lead on grant
  • Contact area businesses for potential corporate sponsorship to cover immediate repairs and pledge to help with renovations
  • Talk with Board of Education to see if “learn to swim” program could be instituted at Giffen Elementary School.
  • Allocate the funds as Councilmember Calsolaro has proposed to do the required repairs while the pool is temporarily closed. Work will continue to exploring future funding and aggressive marketing will be done to increase usage once pool reopens.

What else can you think of as actions to raise awareness, generate funds and create collaborations to keep Bath House #2 open? And just because the cameras aren’t always present, our desire for a


Susan Holland, head of Historic Albany (HA) made this statement of commitment to the group:

We at Historic Albany have been working on this issue, to figure out what sources are available for preservation. We were also looking at sources from NYSERDA (but still waiting). Attached to this email are potential sources of funding for historic buildings. This building is in the South End/Groesbeckville Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We also have been working with the Preservation League of NYS to figure out if the building would qualify for their Endangered Properties Intervention Program; it does and could be explored further.

From your update, is it understood that the Bath House will be closed in 2011, due to budget constraints, but there will be opportunities to get it up and running again? There needs to be a maintenance & monitoring plan in place so that the asset can be and will be used again. Also, if the plan is to reopen, someone will have to coordinate all aspects, grant applications, planning, and to be the "go to" person so we don't lose this valuable asset. Another vacant building is not an option!

Jacqui Williams had this to say in reply to Susan:

No, it is not a given that the pool and Bath House will close in 2011. We don’t know if there is time to gather sufficient information and locate alternate funding to satisfy the council members who are working with the budget. Each piece of information such as the work your organization and the Preservation League of NYS are doing affirms that some things are already in motion and who may be willing to collaborate in the future.

Jacqui Williams Willie White
Jacqui Williams
Willie White