Letter: Why Not a River Pool?

Scenic Hudson is proposing a plan for Long Dock Park to the Beacon Planning Board that includes the use of food trucks and other structures (Food Trucks and River Pool, Oct. 18). I would like Scenic Hudson to reboot one of their guiding principles, which states: “All citizens have a right to outstanding quality of life, including access to our Hudson River, to open space and to participate in community decision-making.”

In contrast to its Long Dock plan is a rejection by Scenic Hudson to a local nonprofit that wishes to operate a free access floating River Pool in the river. The idea to open the pool came from Pete Seeger in the late 1990s. Since opening, nearly 10,000 people have entered the river via the pool, which is a cost-free recreational option that teaches swimmers to care for the environment.

Steve Rosenberg, senior vice president at Scenic Hudson, has said that  “what the river pool does is very important in terms of connecting kids and families to the river, but the added risks to us of having swimming in a setting like that concerned us. Despite everyone’s best efforts, you really have to be a guarantor of the [public’s] safety [in that setting].”

Scenic Hudson should know that immunity is provided when an injured party is engaged in one of the enumerated activities on land suitable for that activity (see Farley v. Town of Rhinebeck, 65 A.D.3d 1279). The River Pool can also indemnify its sponsor, as it has done for years. I also have observed illicit swimming at Long Dock. If liability is a concern, other options may be acceptable such a conveyance of land and submerged land with applicable environment easements and/or deed restrictions. However, Scenic Hudson will not reconsider.

The River Pool’s location off Seeger Park in Beacon (about 2,500 feet north of Long Dock) may no longer be a viable option, as the pool is nearing its life expectancy and the water there is only about 3 feet deep. The Beacon River Pool sponsors the annual swim across the Hudson bringing more than 100 swimmers, their families and friends to our area. Without access to deeper waters which only Long Dock Park offers off the north shore, the River Pool may no longer operate in Beacon.

Antony Tseng, Beacon

One thought on “Letter: Why Not a River Pool?

  1. What a shame. The River Pool in Beacon was an innovative design and a safer alternative to swimming in open water. Many larger communities can and do support pools on docked barges.

    I wonder whether the cove area north of Dockside in Cold Spring would have adequate depth to house such an operation.