Making waves for Saratoga Springs pool's opening
State agrees to open Victoria Pool on June 16, one week early, after hearing from residents
By DENNIS YUSKO, Staff writer Click byline for more stories by writer. First published: Friday, June 1, 2007
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Louise Goldstein will be chilling waterside when the Victoria Pool in Saratoga Spa State Park opens on June 16. Of that you can be almost sure.
"Unless hell freezes over or there's a hurricane," Goldstein said.
The fierce advocate for the pool collected more than 200 signatures from area residents who objected to the state's scheduled June 23 pool opening. The signers wanted the stately swimming spot to open as soon as possible, preferably on Memorial Day weekend, as it once did.
But the pool stayed unfilled over the sunny holiday as workers painted and resealed it.
"It was lonely, empty and pathetic," Goldstein said.
Well, it won't be soon.
The state decided this week that, weather permitting, it will move forward the opening date of the Victoria Pool to June 16, said Eileen Larrabee, a spokeswoman for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The Great Depression-era pool will close again from June 18 to 22 before becoming available for water and sun bathing on a regular basis beginning June 23.
"We have always said that if the weather cooperates, we will open earlier," Larrabee said. "We have said that in response to (Goldstein's) numerous requests."
The park's other swimming hole, the Peerless Pool, will not open until June 23.
The Victoria Pool last opened on or before Memorial Day weekend in 2003. But it averaged only 10 customers during the holiday weekend from 2000 to 2003, Larrabee said.
"The weather this time of the year in this part of the country is not reliable, so even when they've tried to open earlier in previous years, there was not interest in attending," Larrabee said.
Last year the pool opened on June 24.
The state made $1.5 million in improvements to the pool in 2004 and 2005 after Goldstein and Andrew Jennings of Ballston Spa organized the Save the Victoria Pool Society to raise awareness and pressure the state to make renovations. The work included new locker rooms, the restoration of fountains, a new clock, masonry work and roof repairs.
Goldstein has attended the Victoria Pool since she was a young girl. She says the Northeast needs all the pool time it can get.
May was warm all month, and the taxpayers of New York should have been able to enjoy what they pay for, she said. She calls the facility "the most beautiful pool in America ... magical."
Yusko can be reached at 581-8438 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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