, Salem, MA

April 18, 2014

Letter: Money would not be well-spent on water park

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Why is the proposed water park being planned for The Point section of Salem when that particular area is already in such close proximity to the ocean? Other areas of Salem are not within a child’s walking distance to water for recreational use. Perhaps the $200,000 would be better spent by implementing a summer reading program for the children, given the present state of Salem’s schools.

This morning as I read the proposal idea for the water park, I was also quickly drinking my coffee as I was soon to leave for Witchcraft Heights Elementary School, where I volunteer twice a week during the reading workshop time in a second-grade class. I have been a lifelong educator of elementary students and lived in Salem for the first 21 years of my life. I know and love this city and have invested a couple of mornings a week to help its students.

If Salem wants to install a water park, there are many things to be thought out. The first being is this the best use of funding? Should we place it an area where all of Salem’s children, as well as the children of tourists, can take advantage of it on a sweltering day while visiting our city? What will the costs be to insure this park, maintain it, oversee it while it is being used?

The price tag also seems too low. In the state of Massachusetts, the average price of installing a bathroom in a school is $250,000. How is a water park area, even if it is small, going to be constructed for less? What if there is hazardous waste that needs to be removed? And finally, what on earth is wrong with setting up a few sprinklers for the youngsters to enjoy rather than what has been proposed?

Some people may view me as being Scrooge-like, yet I really do love the city that I was born and educated through college in. I believe in being realistic. I think that the city should seriously reconsider this proposal.

So many children during the summer months fall backward in their reading and math skills that the teachers have to spend so much time during the beginning of the following school year bringing the students back up to where they were in June when school vacation began.

A bookmobile, a traveling library of sorts, as other cities and towns have, would be a more beneficial way of spending money rather than a water park in a climate that has at best three months of “water park” weather.

This could keep our students reading throughout the summer and could be in use not only for all of Salem’s students but for 12 months of the year.

Cynthia Calabrese