Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Victoria Pool rally gains steam

Spa State Park cuts mowing to save on fuel, labor
Critics blasts decision to let some acres go wild

By DENNIS YUSKO, Staff writer
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Last updated: 11:15 a.m., Wednesday, May 21, 2008

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The Saratoga Spa State Park's manicured lawns are the latest casualty of sky-high fuel prices.
To save money on gas, the state will allow parts of the park to grow wild this year.

Under a new initiative also designed to save on labor and cut emissions, 11 1/2 acres of lawns at the park will be allowed to become meadows, Park Manager Michael Greenslate said.

Areas along the road connecting routes 9 and 50, a grassy acre or so located across Route 9 from the Lincoln Bath House and other low-use spots will go uncut, he said.

Reducing mowing will cut down on fuel and maintenance costs, and is a smart environmental move, park officials said. Mowing reductions may be introduced at some of the other 177 state parks, too.

``While there is no official statewide policy per se, we are always looking at ways to improve our efficiency and sustainability,'' said Eileen Larrabee, communications director for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The 2,200-acre Saratoga Spa State Park is distinguished by its classical architecture, entertainment venues, pine forest and natural geysers. It is listed as a National Historic Landmark, and locals are famously protective of it.

In an interview this week, Louise Goldstein, co-founder of a group that worked to keep the park's Victoria Pool open, called the decision to cease mowing ``ridiculous.'' The park and some of its buildings already are ``in a horribly deteriorated state,'' she said.

Save the Victoria Pool Society members will gather at 5 p.m. Saturday on Broadway near City Hall to push the state to open the stately pool prior to this year's first day, June 28, Goldstein said.

Park officials volunteered information about the changes in grass cutting because they wanted the public to know that they are not neglecting lawns, but making positive environmental adjustments, said Alli Schweizer, park naturalist.

``I think people might be surprised how beautiful the fields will look when they come back to their natural state,'' she said.

Last week, the state committed $5.2 million to the park, which will build a new facade for the Saratoga Performing Arts amphitheater, renovate picnic and parking areas, repair the Peerless Pool and more.

Greenslate could not say how much money the mowing initiative would save. The park's staff of 12 groundspeople, plus seasonal workers in the summer, will be free to work on other projects, he said. The 11.5 uncut acres will be mowed once at the end of the season, he said.

The Victoria Pool is opening the same date as all state pools, Greenslate said. The date has been pushed back a few days because school schedules are running later this year, he said.

All Times Union materials copyright 1996-2008, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation, Albany, N.Y.



Nightwing said...

The state that journalism is in right now is very sad. It must be one hell of a slow news week when this becomes news worthy. I find it very interesting, the park officials talk about a reduction in mowing lawns and pool opening dates and for some reason Louise Goldstein, co-founder, blah blah blah is interviewed. Only to say something negative by the way. So here's my question...who cares what you think? You are no more or less important than any of the other thousands of patrons that pass through there every day. And don't you dare have the audacity to say that you speak on behalf of us all. What reason should any of us have for listening, valuing or even considering your opinion? And while we're on the subject, what does the lawn mowing and the pool opening have to do with one another?

Anonymous said...

Good points made by nightwing.
For my part, I started to question the logic used by this society when they claimed catastrophe when the park failed to maintain good skating rinks during a week of weather in the mid-50’s (see Jan 08). I grew seriously concerned for their sanity when they mentioned donning bathing suits at Mrs. London’s as an appropriate idea for a protest. Only in Saratoga would anyone have the time to protest demanding a large pool open for a few people in mid-May, while they nibble $10 cannolis. But, now, its clear that they have simply had too much summer sun and too many daiquiris. The logic is not just drunken, it is upside down.

Here is a small dose of reality for baloney blog central. Acres of mowed lawn indicate a deteriorated state. My lord, there is so much mowed lawn and golf course in Spa Park that Arnold Palmer got lost when he came here. Deer are often seen hitching for rides in golf carts, rather than walk that far through open field. In all seriousness though, there are very few wind breaks left; that is why so many limbs and trees fall in storms. But of course, whenever anyone cuts a branch off a rotting pine tree, the local volunteer foresters come out of the woodwork to complain. But let some grass and wildflowers grow for a season, and its called ridiculous. If the park mows less, there will be more time for other work. I especially enjoy the landscaping efforts at the Rte. 9 entrance and at the Victoria. Should we mow them down also?

Perhaps Save the Vic could leave the ecological planning to others and stick to their specialty, eating sponge cake under umbrellas while blogging baloney.

Sinister said...

I would like to know the answer to some of the questions above. Why should your opinions be taken higher than anyone else's? You seem quiet all of sudden? You can dish it out but you can't take it I guess.

save the victoria pool society said...

to sinister: ammendment I of the Constitution guarantees the right to free speech and assembly in the USA.

Anonymous said...

OK so you recited the first ammendment that doesn't even acknowledge any of their questions. But I will agree with you on one thing, the first ammendment does guarantee all that stuff you mentioned. I don't think anyone here is saying that it doesn't. God Bless ammendment number one, it give you the perfect right to make an idiot out of yourself.

Anonymous said...

"Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”

"Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt."
- Bergen Evans

"The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously."
-Hubert Horatio Humphrey

"I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking."
-Woodrow Wilson

"The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen."
-Tommy Smothers

A.P. Fufnik said...

I love poking fun at the Victoria Pool Society! What is the low tonight? 42 degrees? Yep. Definitely swimming weather! And also, isn't the official beginning of summer still a month away? be moronic. I wish you could see yourselves from the other side of the fence. You look so silly to the rest of us Saratogians!