Thursday, May 14, 2009

Routine Maintenance does not need to take 3 every year. Oliver Bath House request is denied.

A few weeks ago, Mayor candidate, Patrick Dowd, was on 11th and East Carson, just one block from my home in the Historic South Side. He was putting the price tag on the garbage can and talking about waste. Okay. Whatever. I wasn't that excited.

Waste to me also means, "lost opportunities." That's classic Pittsburgh waste. That's what I've come to hate as much as anything.

Doing nothing is wasteful.

The bible parable says it is a sin to put a candle under a basket. If you have a talent, and bury it in the backyard, you've done wrong. You all know the story and get this message.

Not calling 9-1-1 when you see a crime is not as bad as doing the crime, but it is wrong as well.

When Patrick Dowd was in the South Side to talk about waste, I wanted him to talk about what can't be seen as well. He did say that the high costs and self-promotion implied with the price tag on the garbage can is just the 'tip of the iceberg.' I'm hungry for a mayor and a city that gets to the deeper stuff right now.
From hockey hell

The South Side, in this hockey crazy time, has a closed indoor ice rink. This has been a long-standing talking point of mine as it represents so much of the folly that we face on many different fronts. The South Side ice rink (Neville Rink) was once a home ice for practices to the Pittsburgh Penguins. And, the NHL All-Stars once came to town and held a practice skate there.

From playground - usa

The rink was run to the ground in its last years of operation without the due oversight from the city. I complained about that when Gene was our councilman and the chair of the Citiparks Committee. The terms of the contract were constantly broken and without enforcement from the city. Enforcement is another big concept typically.

The rink has been a dark hole in the center of the neighborhood.

We pushed for community partnerships at meetings. We pushed for a RFP by the city. And, we even got the city planning folks to let a Request for Proposals. Pat Ford kicked me out of a meeting at 200 Ross Street to talk about the community process there.

From hockey hell

The Hockey Hell story took another turn as the RFPs were all rejected. The facility would have been re-opened at no cost to the city, with private money. And the city couldn't deal.

From hockey hell

When I ran for city council, we talked about the closed indoor ice rink, the only indoor ice rink in the city other than Mellon Arena about 50 times in community forums and meetings. It was always a point of discussion. One of the other candidates wanted to turn it into a Public Works garage. Another candidate wanted it to be the home for the Zone 3 Police Station.

From Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events

Today, the ice rink is a great example of city waste. It is in a park with a padlock. The rink is closed, and so too is the entire PARK. The whole lower park is locked.

From hockey hell

Next up, the Oliver Bath House.

The only indoor swim pool operated by Citiparks is also on the South Side, just one block from where Patrick Dowd talked about the $1,010 garbage cans. The city had 31 outdoor pools, but only one that it owns and operates that is indoors, hence with year-round capabilities.

But, the Oliver Bath House is closed once the outdoor pools open. It is closed for most of June, all of July and all of August. It won't open until after Labor Day in September.

In my professional opinion, and I'm a Certified Pool Operator, a Certified Aquatic Manager and a swim coach and pool manager from 1976 -- there is not need to have the pool closed for so long for routine maintenance.

This is the way things have been for the past 10 years or so. The pool always closes. It is the way they do things.

In the summer of 2009, the area elementary school, Pittsburgh Phillips K-5, is making plans for summer school. Phillips will be a regional site, so kids from other schools (Whittier and Knoxville) will also blend in to get academic help for 19 days in the summer. The summer enrichment program ends July 17.

It would be great to get a group of students in summer school to have a good experiences with fitness, swimming and aquatic sports as part of their summer school afternoons. This becomes a public health concern as well.

The following letter was delivered.

April 24, 2009
Pittsburgh Phillips K-5

Dear Mayor Ravenstahl,

As the principal of Pittsburgh Phillips, K-5, I want to express our desire to inquire about the possibilities of utilizing the pool at the Oliver Bath House for
our Summer School students. Our school enjoys an extensive partnership with Citiparks and its recreational leaders that has lasted many years. We have talked about the possibility of adding a swimming component to this year's summer school schedule. Since the daily time frame is short, the only option that would be logistically possible for us is the Oliver Bath House. We could walk from Phillips to the Oliver Bath House each day, saving money and time on buses.

We have met and discussed this option with the folks from Citiparks but our effort to secure permission to use the pool has been unsuccessful. I am wondering if there is a possibility that you could assist our efforts to secure this enrichment experience for our children.

Summer school lasts from June 22, 2009 -- July 17, 2009. We would like to have access to the pool from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM during that time.

Mark Rauterkus, a Phillips parent, certified lifeguard and swim coach with Phillips Elementary, is helping on this project. We will also supply whatever additional lifeguard(s) are necessary to comply with regulations.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Rodney Necciai, Principal

From hockey hell

Mayor Ravenstahl's policy boss, Gabe M, had a full briefing on this matter. Luke had plenty of time to look like a hero at career day in the school. Furthermore, I talked in a casual way with a few members of Pittsburgh City Council on this matter, including Patrick Dowd. His office now gets to see this blog posting.

We need city and school cooperation. That is something Patrick Dowd could deliver as he was on the School Board and he was the chair of the Urban Youth and Recreation Committee as a member of city council.

We need to deploy our facilities so we can do good works. I was there when the Dem Party Leader, Mayor Tom Murphy, closed the Rec Centers and all of the swim pools.

The routine maintenance for the Oliver Bath House can happen after July 17, 2009.

Finally, this request isn't for my kids. My youngest is about to finish at Phillips. They are in older grades. And, this request is for kids invited to summer school by being in an academic realm of 'below basic.'

Update: Within an hour, on May 14, I got this message from the Dowd campaign:

Unfortunately, Patrick's schedule is jam-packed through election day so
we're not going to be able to do an event for this. I would recommend contacting
Councilman Kraus if you can.


Eric Parrie

Bruce Kraus and his staff are very aware of the swim pool's closing to the school children and denied request to the principal. But, this is a MAYOR"s decision.

This statement, one that I love, is printed within the Dowd for Mayor campiagn literature that arrived at our house yesterday in the mail. It sounds great.
3) Expand opportunities for children. On the School board I led the charge to cut waste and put resources into classrooms. And it's working. As Mayor, I'll continue cutting waste to free up resources for education and after-school programs that get kids off the streets and into constructive activities.
Deeds, on the other hand, give me an empty feeling.


Annette Werner said...

Wow, all of this really is wasteful. Also, what a lost opportunity to combat problems with obesity and lack of exercise. After the mayor's race is over all of us interested in this issue should work on coming up with ways to change the situation.

Anonymous said...

Foolish leaders and ignorant decisions. Why did you expect anything different Mark?