Along with the renovated Westport Country Playhouse, your town now has another significant architectural achievement: the new Wesport Weston Family Y.

Many of us were fond of the old downtown Y and, having become attached to it, were sorry to see it go. But on one of my last visits to that building, during a Saturday rain storm, water was literally pouring through the walls. It took the one maintenance worker there all of his energy simply to keep the many puddles from attaining pond-size proportions. It was time to transform the area to business use (and increase your tax base).

The new Y is a stunning accomplishment in all respects. I have used YMCAs and fitness centers across the country and I have not come across one as wonderful as this. Practical, useful, esthetically pleasing, abundant and diverse in exercise modalities, it stands as a model for all health and fitness centers.

The most important achievement is the wonderful 10-lane pool, which includes a large area for rehab, training, and instruction, plus wheelchair access. You can walk into this area into water no higher than your pinky toe. For teaching infants and children to swim, there is no better place.

Two American children drown every day. It is recommended that children be taught to swim at six months, and the waist-high area is a great place to do this. If you don't swim yourself, then there is now no excuse to maintain this status. Come here and learn.

Everyone involved in the building's creation -- from the donors, the architects, the engineers, the tradesmen/tradeswomen, the designers, the attorneys -- are owed a debt of gratitude from us all. Kudos to all of you. Your town and our state are now better for this great accomplishment. But don't take my word on this; come and tour the facility and campus, and judge for yourself.

John Niesyn