TROY, N.Y. — Rep. Paul Tonko visited Troy and toured the proposed future site of the new Knickerbacker pool.
Because of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the city will use those funds to pay for the construction of the new pool. Tonko discussed plans for the pool site with Troy Mayor Patrick Madden and city recreation officials.
Tonko (D-Amsterdam) spoke about the importance of investing in such places for the youth in our community.
“I think first any kind of investment you do in the youngest in our population will be an important piece in the foundation of their development. So, to get kids on that straight and narrow and to show them that they’re respected and loved, there’s a great way for the community to say that,” Tonko remarked on giving children and families a place for activities.
“The exercise that comes with this, the learning of a skill that’s very helpful to be able to swim. The recreational opportunity, knowing kids are in a controlled environment and that they’re safe and not near the streets, so I think this is a very worthy investment,” Tonko noted on some of the programs provided for kids.
“Obviously, this, unfortunately, had to be closed and as I heard today it was for good reasons, they were worried about the safety of the children because it’s in such fragile condition. So, this is a good project that will serve generations here and have a great partnership with the Boys & Girls Club to maintain it. It’s good to see projects like this that are so vital to children and families are enabled by the rescue plan,” Tonko continued.
Tonko also described the need to have these funds set for numerous projects that would otherwise be neglected.
“I’m proud to have cast an affirmative vote. These votes didn’t come by easy, not one of the four major ones of recent was done with unanimity and some with marginal support, so good to know that places like Troy and communities in the twentieth congressional district are getting to do important things that otherwise would have to be put on the back burner. You can’t rely on a property tax that’s overburdened and we wanna relieve that pressure and I think the rescue plan does that,” Tonko noted.
Tonko was also impressed by actions taken at the local level in helping see the project come to fruition.
“I’m impressed with the strategy they have here, the planning that they have, that they’ve come together with a full community review, Tonko said.
“What I like about the rescue plan is it was a concept to get us through Covid, provide for essential services during those couple of tough years, get shots in the arms for vaccination boosters, maintain businesses and keep their doors open, return our children to the schools in a safe way. All that assistance was there and it rippled into this where the impact on individuals and families with the lack of socialization and isolation that in and of itself took a toll and now to respond to it in this manner where we now come back in spirit as a community, we’ll have these community offerings,” Tonko continued.
“Again I think it’s a good investment I think in order to boost the economy and provide services for the community and hope for the next generations, all in I think a reasonably balanced way in terms of expenditures and who’s paying. The President has made it very clear, he’s appointed Chairman [Mitch] Landrieu and others to an overseeing group, they’re going to make certain that for accountability and transparency’s sake, dollars are invested as intended by the legislature and then at the local level, our other end of the delivery are community decisions that will determine how best and where and how to apply these funds,” Tonko explained regarding the oversight process.
“So, from start to finish, I like how it’s structured and overviewed and having a watchdog component and a community-driven process at the end of the run is I think maximizes the benefit,” Tonko added.
The Congressman also noted how crucial these direct investments are to neighborhood initiatives.
“These are investments that will have an immediate effect on the well-being and health and safety of our kids. Swimming is a great exercise for them to stay fit. We know that childhood obesity is a major factor these days, sound nutrition and exercise are an important part of the formula for maintaining strong and healthy children. I think it’s an investment, so it will yield lucrative dividends. We’ll have stronger kids, and kids that understand they’re loved by their community,” Tonko said.
“I think the strategy of this park, which is a tremendous amount of real estate, puts together now an all-inclusive type of approach with healthy systems for adults, the swimming opportunity for the kids, playground activity, perhaps athletic fields as they move forward, community garden space. It is really building community and to me that’s the fundamental foundation of a strong democracy,” Tonko noted.
“A democracy functions best when there’s a spirit of community and I feel there’s a strong sense of community, a strong spirit of community here in Troy with all the decision-making that’s going on. I commend the mayor and the council for giving it such an intense review and coming up with a strategy, a plan and balancing it with outside forces and municipal efforts with the city to make certain it all works,” Tonko added.
The city of Troy is slated to break ground on the new Knickerbacker pool sometime in 2023.