NIOT Princeton

Supporting Affordable Access

Dear Mayor Trotman and Borough Council Women and Men:

In considering your vote on whether or not to keep the community pool continuously up and running and available for the present and long term, please give heavy weight to its role as a place that serves three important interrelated community functions.

* It is a place where those in that fairly densely populated neighborhood can go easily

* It is a place where those who do not have their own pools or affordable access to a private pool can go

* It is a place where all segments of our community are welcome and comfortable and thus is a place for us to enjoy together – to get to know each other at least a little more than we otherwise do.

There are very few places in Princeton where we can all gather together comfortably. The Princeton Public Library, the most vibrant and beloved place in our town, is a notable exception; the community pool is nother.

At the Not In Our Town youth forum “Through Our Eyes” in 2007, the high school students spoke repeatedly about Princeton’s fractured communities and how difficult it is, other than in a school setting, for young people to get together in natural, comfortable settings. The
closing of the community pool would be a great loss to our town.

Not In Our Town is an organization that cares about the well being of the community, especially regarding matters pertaining to privilege and race. Thus we support policies that promote and enhance comfortable participation by all members of our community. Real community occurs when each of us is happy to support, in whatever ways we can, those places and events where all of us can be together and get to know each other.

We thank you for your attention to this important matter,

Barbara Fox
Wilma Solomon
Fern and Larry Spruill
Marietta Taylor
Ann Yasuhara

For Not In Our Town
February 11, 2011

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Please Support Revised Pool Plan

An open letter from Chrystal Schivell:

I’m writing every Borough resident I know to ask for your support of the renovation of Community Park pool – for the sake of the kids it serves – and to let members of Borough Council know of your support. Council’s reluctance to approve the bond ordinance (even to introduce it required Mildred Trotman’s breaking a 3-3 tie) may very well result in the loss of a swim season since it’s likely that the main pool will soon break down irreparably. That would be inconvenient for regular pool-users but devastating for the 100+ members of the swim/dive team and the 250 day campers and their counselors. It’s my understanding that unless Council approves the ordinance on Feb. 22, the pool cannot be renovated in time for summer 2012. That means two years (or more if the process has to start all over) of hoping the pool won’t break. Quite a risk for the community.

One reason for Council’s reluctance may have been that the plans were not finalized because the Ad Hoc Committee of architects had not finished with their input. Certainly the initial plans, especially for the locker rooms, upset many members of the community. I checked with Ted Ernst of the Rec Dept, and the final plan (to be presented at Council’s Feb. 22 meeting) has locker rooms of 2000 sq.ft.or 77% of the current area (which in the ladies’ locker room will be more than enough space.) There will be an opening in the roof 12’x16′ that can be covered with plywood in winter. (The Ad Hoc committee worked hard to get this compromise.) There will be ventilation at the bottom of the walls and an 18″ clerestory between the roof and top of the walls for further ventilation. (The clerestory was always in the Rec Dept’s plan; AC was never envisioned for the locker rooms.) There will be individual shower stalls with controls to allow one to adjust water temperature, dressing “rooms” similar to those we now have, and a concrete floor.

The controversial meeting room is now a pavilion. AC will be installed only in the administrative building. A family changing room (so kids don’t have to look at adults of the opposite sex) will be included. I’m not sure about the snack bar, but I believe it will be somewhat bigger and definitely modernized. The exterior of the buildings will mimic what’s there now.

I don’t know how you feel about changes to the pools, but I support them because they serve a demographic that is not currently served: namely, teenagers and kids too old for the wading pool but too short for the main pool (the kids who collect on the steps). The family bay will give kids of all heights a chance to inch their way into the water, thus gaining the confidence to swim. And the addition to the diving well will afford teenagers the opportunity to play water polo or water basketball and to slide. (One slide only). The wading pool has to be redone because it is out of compliance now – that’s not a change. The main pool will not be changed except for the break in the wall at its shallow end where it connects to the family bay. As to landscaping, none of the trees will go. Bushes will, but that will afford opportunity for grass and shade structures. I think we actually gain grass in the new plan and lose currently unused concrete. I know that the Ad Hoc committee has been negotiating with the Rec Dept about landscaping as well as buildings. At the Council meeting on Jan. 25, four members of the Ad Hoc committee expressed approval of the new, compromise plans and asked Council to pass the ordinance and get on with renovation.

I don’t know why Borough Council is being so cautious, especially given that they spent almost $500,000 on the Harrison Street park, which serves far fewer residents. I do know that they need to hear from constituents who support the plan. That’s why I’m writing.

If you’re willing to support the plan, please let Kevin Wilkes, David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@princetonboro.org), Roger Martindell (rmartindell@princetonboro.org), and Barbara Trelstad (btrelstad@princetonboro.org) know. They are the cautious ones, and they need to know that their constituents support the expenditure of $1.9 million for the pool. It’s a lot of money, but Bob Bruschi said at the last meeting that the Borough can afford it. To me, it’s worthwhile because, like the library, it serves whoever wants its services – and for kids in the summer, especially kids who can’t travel, it’s the place to find friends and relief from the heat.

Thank you for hearing me out.

Best regards,

Chrystal Schivell

Black History Month Concert: Lucky Peterson


He grew up in his father’s nightclub in Buffalo New York, and at age six he had a hit record. Lucky Peterson, now 46, along with Tamara Peterson, will bring a combo of blues, Delta, roots, and soul music to the Black History Month concert on Friday, February 25, at 7:30 p.m.

The concert will be held at the Princeton Regional Schools Performing Arts Center at Princeton High School, at the corner of Walnut Lane and Franklin Avenue. The Princeton High School Studio Band will open the program. For $10 tickets ($5 for students and seniors) call Mr Highland at 609.806.4280.

Discovered by blues legend Willie Dixon at the age of three, Lucky released
his first record at five and has played behind Little Milton, Bobby “Blue”
Bland and Kenny Neal. He plays everything from the organ and a duolian resonator to the piano and acoustic or electric guitars.

Among his critically acclaimed albums are Black Midnight Sun (2003) and You Can Always Turn Around (2010), billed as “an uplifting portrait of the struggles and salvation of a man with faith.”

A version of this post is also at Princeton Comment.

Class Warfare in Urban Preschools

Do you want to continue to raise the academic levels of our children in elementary schools in urban areas?

Does it make you angry that funds are about to be cut from such programs that make this happen?

What are you willing to do about it?

It is vital that we as advocates for our children step up and take the action steps necessary to make sure a child’s education is being provided. The follow report suggests major funding being lost throughout the state of NJ for preschool age children in urban areas. For the editorial, click here. I am not going to go on and on about the politics in this editorial but want to focus on how we can continue to move forward.

We have to constantly remember that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Contacting the right people who have the power to sway this for the benefit of the children is critical. Creating awareness in the areas affected is important and encouraging them to take action steps. Sometimes it’s even better if we give them specific actions steps they can take, such as who to call, write to, and a sample letter for them to use. It takes a village to raise a child and community involvement is imperative when dealing with these issues.

Posted by Lesa Day, an author, speaker and certified parenting/family coach who is the founder of The Yes I Can Child.

Minority Achievement Gap: The Courage to Love

Carole Krauthamer and Joyce Turner will lead “Continuing Conversations on Race” on Monday, February 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library.

Some say that minorities don’t test as well because those in a lower socio-economic group lack the cultural capital of the middle class. Others point to lack of parental help with homework. Single parents juggling two jobs, or recent immigrants who lack language skills, are less likely to provide academic encouragement than parents with a college education. What is the situation in Princeton and what can we do to level the playing field?

Joyce Turner teaches in the Princeton Regional Schools and directs the Springboard Homework Helpers program, an after school tutoring program at the Princeton Public Library. Carole Krauthamer is a psychologist and teacher. Both represent their faith communities on the Not in Our Town board. Their February 7 discussion is entitled: Minority Achievement Gap: The Courage to Love.

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