Thursday, May 31, 2007
Saratogian, Victoria Pool to open for weekend on June 16, 2007
Victoria Pool to open earlier than expected
By JIM KINNEY , The Saratogian
SARATOGA SPRINGS - In the next few days, state Parks employees will start filling the Victoria Pool with water in Saratoga Spa State Park in anticipation of a June 16 opening.That's a week earlier than the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation had expected to open the pool. The original opening date was to have been the weekend of June 26 and 27, the state said Wednesday afternoon."Should we call that a victory?" said Louise J. Goldstein, co- founder of the Save the Victoria Pool Society that's pushed hard for a Memorial Day-weekend opening.Her group collected more than 100 signatures on a petition calling for an earlier pool opening.State Parks spokeswoman Eileen Larrabee said the state was able to move up the opening date because work at the pool progressed faster than expected."It's all dependent on the weather," Larrabee said. "The weather has been in our favor."Larrabee said the pool will be closed during the weekdays from June 18 to June 22 then reopen for the weekend and on a regular schedule thereafter.She doesn't anticipate early openings being a regular event, either. In past years, the pool would have as few as 10 visitors on a weekday in early June.The Peerless Pool, also in Saratoga Spa State Park, won't open until the weekend of June 22 and June 23, Larrabee said. That pool takes a bit more work to open each spring.Goldstein pointed out that many municipal pools around the region open on Memorial Day, if only just for the weekends."The problem is that state Parks sees this as one of the 190 parks they have responsibility for around the state," she said. "For people who live in Saratoga Springs, this is our only park."Two years ago, the state spent $1.5 million to rehab the Victoria Pool. It was the first heated pool in the country when it opened in 1935 with the support of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.The Park, which also includes two golf courses, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, a dog park and other attractions, has about 947,000 visitors a year.Goldstein said people have been complaining to Society members about the park and upkeep."Taxpayers are wondering what happens to all the money they put in," she said.Larrabee said: "I wish every park had a Louise. It's wonderful that she's that committed."The state plans to repave the Avenue of the Pines in a few weeks and state Parks is working with state Sen. Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, on a master plan for the park.Bruno, who represents most of Saratoga County, is one of the most powerful lawmakers in Albany and has a keen interest in the park.Reach Jim Kinney at firstname.lastname@example.org or 583-8729, ext. 216.