Greece mom fights with town to help her disabled children
A Greece mother is fighting with the town to help her disabled children. Officials say, for safety reasons, she must take down her swimming pool.
Diane Keeley says her children use the pool for therapy. "This is where they feel free, where they feel like normal kids," said Keeley.
Both Jackson, 13 and Hayden, 11 have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. It is a debilitating disease in which their muscles rapidly waste away. Jackson recently lost his ability to walk. “They don't play soccer or baseball. They can't run around the neighborhood riding bikes," said Keeley. “When they're in the pool they can move better."
The Town of Greece sent her a letter several weeks ago informing her the pool must come down or she would face fines. "The safety factors are our primary issue," said Leo Carroll, Town of Greece Assessor's Office. "Many times swimming pool accidents aren't just from the immediate family that has the pool itself. However, it might be a child next door that wanders into the yard," said Carroll. Carroll says Keeley did not get a permit.
The issue isn't about having a pool in the front yard. In New York State, the pool must have a four-foot enclosure and proper wiring. Keeley has been putting the pool up for the past five years. Her neighbor's don't seem to have a problem with it.
"All of a sudden now everything has to change. I think they're being a little bit too picky," said Nancy Johnston. "This is the one thing the kids can do."
Keeley has appealed and will have a hearing in September to get a variance. However, town officials say in order to keep the pool she would have to put up a fence. Keeley, who works as a bus driver during the year and has mounting doctor bills for the boys, says she cannot afford it.
Within minutes of our broadcast, a representative of The Beamer Hughes Foundation, located in Rochester, called and told reporter Deanna King that they would pay for any and all expenses in order for Keeley to keep her pool for her kids.