Saturday, June 28, 2008

Congratulations to Saratoga Spa State Park on a perfect opening day, June 28, 2008 at Victoria Pool!

It was a perfect opening day at Victoria Pool. Kudos to the staff of Saratoga Spa State Park. There were over 1,000 people we were told in and out all day. The Pool was spotless, staff was very helpful and everything was absolutely wonderful . The weather was great until about 4PM or even more happy adults&children would have come we are sure.
For those of you that were hoping not one Marco Polo was heard and all the children including ours were adorable and well behaved as were their parents. Chairs and lounges ran out by noon. Many people talked to us all day long begging our help to get the pool open by Memorial Day next year and thanking us for trying so hard again.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Saratoga Spa State Park Roulette Wheel keeps spinning at the Spa

Since Saratoga is a "one horse town" imagine a roulette wheel of excuses by Saratoga Spa State Park for not opening the Pools on time and pick the one you like since they give a different one every day. The public has been given many more excuses than those listed below but this will give you a flavor :

1. LACK OF MONEY-FALSE (pool lost lots of money by not opening in June-Victoria Pool alone lost about $50,000 by not being open in June by a very conservative estimate)

Parks answer: We don't feel like opening and we have all the power.-TRUE

2. Lack of Lifeguards-FALSE
Parks answer: We don't feel like opening and we have all the power.-TRUE

3. WEATHER: too cold, too rainy, not enough sunny days in a row-FALSE
Parks answer: We don't feel like opening and we have all the power.-TRUE

4. Cost of Chlorine-FALSE

Parks answer: We don't feel like opening and we have all the power.-TRUE

5. Pine Cones make the water unfit-FALSE
Parks answer: We don't feel like opening and we have all the power.-TRUE

6. Squirrels mess up the water-FALSE
Parks answer: We don't feel like opening and we have all the power.-TRUE

7. Lack of personnel-FALSE
Parks answer: We don't feel like opening and we have all the power.-TRUE

8. Not enough patrons-FALSE
Parks answer: We don't feel like opening and we have all the power.-TRUE

9. Too many patrons-FALSE
Parks answer: We don't feel like opening and we have all the power.-TRUE

10. Pollen messes up pool water-FALSE
Parks answer: We don't feel like opening and we have all the power.-TRUE

11. Victoria Pool never opened Memorial Day-FALSE

Parks answer: We don't feel like opening and we have all the power.-TRUE

12. Pool should not open until Dave Matthews is over.-FALSE
Parks answer: We don't feel like opening and we have all the power.-TRUE

Parks answer: We don't feel like it and we have all the power.-TRUE

The excuses go on and on but those listed above give you a taste.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Parks gives unbelievable excuses for delays of pool openings

One big pool of uncertainty
Published: Thursday, June 26, 2008

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Summer swim season arrives Saturday when the doors to the Victoria Pool at Saratoga Spa State Park are opened for the first time this year.

But the Peerless Pool, just up the road in the park, will remain shuttered as park staff continue to repair its floor and sides.

Park Manager Michael Greenslade said Wednesday the pool is getting a new rubber membrane and paint job to seal water leaks.

He said the new coating has to be done gradually and allowed several days to dry.

Work on the $163,000 overhaul began in May, but recent rain has prevented workers from getting the job done in time for the scheduled opening, Greenslade said.

When the pool will open is still weather-dependent, but Greenslade said he wants the work done "as soon as possible."

Visitors expecting a dip at Peerless may opt to visit the Victoria Pool, but it’s likely to be crowded.

The Victoria Pool can fit just 350 people, compared to the 2,864-person capacity at Peerless. In past summers, people have had to wait to enter the Victoria Pool because it was full.

"It will boost the demand, for sure," Greenslade said,

although he added that camps and other large groups

expecting to use the Peerless Pool have been redirected to other area swimming centers.

Crowded or not, Louise Goldstein, co-founder of the Save the Victoria Pool Society, said she’ll be among the first in line when her pool of choice opens at 10 a.m. Saturday.

"Unless there’s a hurricane, I’ll be there," she said.

Still, Goldstein said, she is disappointed that park staff are again opening the Victoria Pool in late June rather than on Memorial Day. She will continue to advocate for an earlier opening until the policy changes, she said.

"They’re acting like it’s their private property and not our tax dollars that pay for this pool," Goldstein said.

Greenslade said staff could open the 73-year-old pool earlier, but the early-season crowds are too small to justify it.

"We just don’t get the crowds and it’s not been worth it, in my experience," he said.

The June openings are now scheduled to coincide with the school calendar, Greenslade said.

The pools, which saw a combined 59,093 visitors last year, will be open — once they do open — seven days a week until Labor Day.

And work on the Peerless Pool was not done in the Fall because?????!!!!!!

Peerless Pool
opening delayed
by rehab work
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Peerless Pool at Saratoga Spa State Park will not open Saturday, as earlier scheduled, because of ongoing rehabilitation work, state park officials said Wednesday.
Wet weather in June is being blamed on the delay. However, the Victoria Pool, which is also located in the state park, will open at 10 a.m. Saturday as scheduled, according to regional parks director Alane Ball Chinian.
A new liquid rubber membrane liner is being installed in the Peerless Pool to replace the deteriorating pool surface. The $168,000 project will improve the durability and appearance of the pool as well as eliminate water leakage and improve footing for swimmers.
The new liner must be applied to a dry surface and the liquid rubber membrane requires five days of dry weather to cure, according to a park statement.
Local weather conditions will determine when this process has been satisfactorily completed and the popular Peerless Pool can be filed with water and opened for swimming, the statement said.
The improvements to the Peerless Pool are among many construction projects being funded through a $132 million state parks revitalization program, Chinian said. The revitalization money will also provide improvements to the bike and pedestrian trail along the Avenue of the Pines and road and parking lot resurfacing throughout the park.
“We appreciate the patience of our park patrons while these important projects are under construction,” Chinian said in a prepared statement. “The unfortunate shortterm disruptions will be offset by long-term benefits of these projects to the park.”

Monday, June 23, 2008

A little Victoria Pool History

Many commments on this blog indicate to us that there are a lot of recent users who do not know or remember when the Victoria(formerly SPA Pool) was the only pool in Saratoga Springs for adults and children. Until the Peerless Pool was built in the mid-1960's the Victoria Pool was the only swimming pool in town.
There were three wonderful diving boards which we hoped would be restored with a deepened pool when the renovations were done with the $1.5 million in 2004&2005. There was a wonderful wide lip around the pool that many children learned to crawl on until 2004.
The lip around the pool was removed with the renovations as well as a second staircase going into the pool which was a great benefit for children and people with disabilities.
Unfortunately, the public and people who really use the pool, including many children, were not consulted when the pool was repaired.
Many comments also seem unaware that the pool water was green and filty until mid-summer 2006 even after the repairs.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Golfers enjoy the Pool, but no swimmers. The Pool is clean, clear and ready.... and waiting....

Saturday, June 21st. Summer: 79 degrees. People lining up to use pool. Money to be spent. But NO Pool.

A reader speaks on a cloudless 82 degree perfect first full day of summer, 6/21/08

Hello again,
This is Tom Marino...
and now I know why you should
never say never.

I only intended to post once but
after my first post I found myself looking to see
people's responses. It became my guilty pleasure.
I was amazed at the negativity out there! I will ask
Louise to post this as an article since I can't seem
to figure out how to get this to go through as a blog
comment. Sorry, I'm a novice.

Why would people care if the pool opens earlier? Is it
hurting them in any way? Is someone forcing them to
come and sit at the pool? Are the people that would
enjoy the pool causing them any personal distress?
I just don't understand.

No one can argue that this has been an exceptionally
warm period since Memorial Day. That is just a fact.
And, no, it may not happen every year, but it did this
year. The pool has been sitting there ready to go.
The water has been tested and it's safe.

I will repeat:
,when people are standing in line
wanting to give you money for something you have to
offer, most good business people would find a way to
let them in. Again, that's just a fact. I know we are
dealing with the state so that most likely isn't a
factor. It's not their money so there is no incentive.
As for the number of people who come and enjoy the
pool...yes, it would vary as it does all summer.
The state and our tax dollars has given us a beautiful
place to swim, eat, relax and just enjoy.
It's only natural to want to be there as many days as
possible. Why would anyone object to that?
As with so many things, I can never understand why
people go out of their way to oppose things that make
no difference in their lives, but may make a
difference in someone elses.

That being said, I am going to force myself to go back
to my regular routine and stop with the bloging. And
when I think of all the things I will be going back
to, like all of us, it's daily responsibilities of
family, work, keeping up with expenses, worrying about
the news reports and the mundane daily chores we all
deal with. When I think of all that I realize why I am
so eager to have the pool opened. I am selfish. I just
want to be at that place where I can get away from it
all for just a while, be with friends, relax and enjoy
myself. I hope my selfishness will some day get the
pool opened longer and will let the other selfish
people who enjoy the same feeling the pool gives them
to enjoy it longer.

If that is personally offensive to anyone, I do
apologize but only wish that you have your own place
to go to and get away from the daily anxiety we
sometimes feel. If you don't have a place like that,
please, come join us by the pool. We'd love to see

Thank for your time,

Friday, June 20, 2008

June 20, 2008

Happy First Day of Summer
Summer Solstice - longest day of the year to one and all!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Monies Lost since Summer began in the Pool Complex

Sent in by a concerned Tax Payer:

Hello, My name is Tom Marino and I don't usually blog,
but I must say this is fun.
I am the business owner
who "Anonymous" is talking about. I am so sorry you
didn't introduce yourself, as I would have liked to
meet you and chat about the pool. Just to keep things
accurate I don't own a business in Saratoga nor did I
say I did.
I was sent this link by Louise because she though I
might be interested in it since it was directed at me
in particular.
So out of my respect and admiration for Louise and all
she does for the pool I will post this one response,
never to be heard from again.
No, I am not an analyst or a pool manager. I have only
been in the service industry for 35 very successful
years. My comment was based on hard numbers and how
to generate income, which I am very familar with.

Here are my calulations:

9 weekend days from Memorial day to Fathers day. 200
people per day. (low estimate since capacity is 350)
9x200=1800 people.
1800 people paying $6.00 admission
= $10,800.

If only half that number (900) spend an average of
$25.00 for food and drinks, the amount for food and
drinks is $22,500, of which the state receives a substantial
portion of all receipts.
Add admissions to
food/beverage and you get $33,300.

Now, if we add in weekdays too, with only 1/3
capacity of 100 people a day that equals 1400 people
times $6 admission totaling $8400.

Add only HALF of that number of people (700) spending
$25 on food and drink equals $17,500 - Added to
admissions, the total is $25,000.
Grand total for pool
admission and food and drinks lost since Memoral Day
weekend, very conservatively could be $52, 000..

I never
once took into
consideration the unusally high
temperatures, which in the past has put the pool at
capacity numbers.
In all fairness I agree the numbers are an estimate
but if you want to be fair also, I think you will
agree it is a very conservative estimate.

Now, I may not be the smartest person in the world but
one thing I know for certain...this is just business
If people are willing to wait in line, outside
your door with money in their hands, it's only good
business to let them in!

Please, if you seem me at the pool feel free to come
over and say hello. I am always eager to meet a
concerned and civic minded people like yourself.
Good luck and God bless,

Flash! Average temperature 84.3125 degrees Memorial Day thru Father's Day June 16, 2008

After keeping careful records, we have documented the average temperature in the Capital District from May 31,2008-June 16, 2008 was 84.3125 degrees F.. It appears the Founding Fathers of Saratoga Spa State Park, Spencer Trask, Bernard Baruch and President Franklin D. Roosevelt knew what they were doing by setting Spa Pool dates from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Victoria Pool losing significant revenue not opening Memorial Day

Ideas flow on plan for Spa park
Public eager to offer suggestions
Tuesday, June 17, 2008

By Lee Coleman (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Text Size: A | A | A
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Dozens of ideas to improve the Saratoga Spa State Park were suggested Monday night — from a fenced-in dog park to better grooming of the park’s cross country ski trails.

More than 200 people attended the first informational meeting on the Spa State Park’s master plan for the next 20 years. The 2,200-acre state park is the first in the state to start a new master plan.

Park Manager Michael Greenslade discussed the many features of the park.

Thomas Lyons, director of resource management for all state parks, then invited members of the audience in the Gideon Putnam Hotel’s ballroom to make comments.

“The park is, for sure, one of the jewels in the state park system,” Lyons said.

Part of the audience was there to encourage the park to continue and improve the “dog park” located on state park land on the east side of South Broadway (Route 9) at Crescent Street. This open, grass-covered field is where people can bring their dogs and allow them to run without a leash.

Ken Ivins, the city’s finance commissioner and a dog owner, said he feels the endangered Karner blue butterfly, which has habitat near the unofficial dog area, and the dogs can co-exist without causing problems.

“Fence in the area we use now,” Ivins said to applause from the audience. Ivins presented the park officials with a petition urging the creation of a safe, fenced-in dog park, with approximately 250 signatures on it from people who live in Saratoga Springs and surrounding towns.

Another segment of the audience was strongly in favor of opening the Victoria and Peerless pools, the two outdoor pools in the park, earlier in the season. They said the park was losing a significant amount of revenue by not opening the pools in late May rather than late June.

Several people asked that better-marked and more bicycle and walking trails be created that connect to trails outside the park.

Mary Beth Delarm of Saratoga Springs said she understands there are 209 acres off Route 50 that the state could purchase to improve the Route 50 entrance to the park.

Dean Higgins of Saratoga Springs said the current uses of the Lincoln Bathhouse on Route 9 near the park’s entrance are not appropriate for such a historic building.

He said when you drive past the former bathhouse there are state park police cruisers and vans parked along the front.

“Restore the Lincoln [bathhouse] to uses that would most serve the community,” Higgins said.

He questioned why the building is filled with state court administrative offices and a park police headquarters.

Another member of the audience suggested the former bathhouse would be an ideal location for a visitor center and/or a small park museum.

John Franck, the city’s accounts commissioner, said there are so many things going on in the park, so many cultural and recreational offerings, that a visitor center somewhere in the park is really needed.

More than one person mentioned restoring the empty Roosevelt No. 2 bathhouse near the park’s administration building. People suggested this be renovated and turned into a museum, interpretive center or visitor center. The building has been empty since the mid-1980s.

Laura Clark of the Saratoga Stryders, a group of running enthusiasts, said she finds too much litter and storm debris along some of the park’s trails. She suggested the courts could assign people to help pick up the litter as part of their sentence.

Others in the audience said litter is a problem because the park has removed trash barrels from many park locations.

Lyons said that all comments at the informational meeting were written down and will be circulated to those who signed up to get information mailed to them on the master plan process.

The next steps in the master plan process include the development of a draft master plan and environmental impact statement by January. A formal public hearing will be held on the draft master plan in February with a final master plan and final environmental impact statement by May 2009. The park officials hope to adopt the final master plan by next May as well.

Alane Ball Chinian, regional parks director, said written comments will be accepted by state parks up until July 18. The written comments should be sent to: Salim Adler, Planning Bureau, Agency Building One, Empire State Plaza, Albany NY 12238 or e-mailed to Adler at:


Monday, June 16, 2008

88 degrees, June 15, 2008, Father's Day

Bravo! Friends!

Spa park tennis players lucky to have Friends
Monday, June 16, 2008
By Lee Coleman (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Text Size: A | A | A
In the mid-1990s the four clay tennis courts at the Saratoga Spa State Park were starting to show their age.

The four courts, which are located off Roosevelt Drive across from the Homemade Theater and park administration building and are free to park visitors, were installed in the 1930s, according to Stephen Miller of Wilton. Miller is a member of the Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park.

The Har-Tru type clay courts require a considerable amount of maintenance. Such things as sweeping, watering and rolling the green clay surface are needed on a daily basis.

Some tennis enthusiasts, who were also members of the Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park, received permission eight years ago to start maintaining the courts, which are open, free-of-charge, to the public.

Today the courts are in pristine condition, thanks to the efforts of the Friends, which is a nonprofit group of about 70 people who provide a variety of volunteer services and some private funding to the 2,200-acre state park in Saratoga Springs.

“It’s really a partnership with Saratoga Spa State Park,” Miller said.

“We provide volunteer labor and maintain the courts.”

The park provides a new load of Har-Tru clay surface for the courts each spring. Har-Tru tennis court clay is made from “billion year old, Precambrian metabasalt found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia,” according to the Collins Company Web site (

Once the new clay surface is down, a subcommittee of the Friends starts its almost daily maintenance of the courts.

The Friends nail down the fabric lines, they sweep and roll the courts, they even installed an inground watering system so the Har-Tru can be properly watered down before rolling.

“Water and rolling are the two keys to a good clay court,” Miller said.

Dan Blanchfield of Saratoga Springs, a member of the Friends board of directors like Miller, and Jeff Thompson of Clifton Park, have been key players in bringing the four tennis courts back to their former glory, Miller said.

Tennis players like clay courts because the surface is easier on the players’ legs and the tennis games last longer because the ball comes off the clay surface at a much slower pace than off asphalt or composition-surface tennis courts.

About a year ago, the Friends put in a new entrance gate and slate entrance walkway to the courts, complete with a small garden.

“We share the responsibility,” said Michael Greenslade, manager of the Saratoga Spa State Park.

“Our responsibility ends in the spring when a company comes and levels the courts and puts down the Har-Tru,” Greenslade said.

“They do every bit of the daily maintenance over there,” he said about the Friends.

“They have a tennis subcommittee to watch over the courts,” Greenslade said. “It’s unique to Spa State Park.”

Greenslade said the volunteer work on the tennis courts frees up park employees to do other work around the state park.

Greenslade said the Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park incorporated in the late 1990s. James Kettlewell, a retired Skidmore College professor, is current Friends president.

“It’s a very active friends group,” Greenslade said. “They have been extremely helpful.”

Over the past few years the Friends have rebuilt the Hathorn No. 3 pavilion and have finished the Hayes pavilion near the Spouter spring.

“They also help support different environmental education programs,” he said. For example, the Friends are active during the popular spring tradition of stocking trout in the Geyser stream that runs through the park.

“They are a real good bunch of people to have around, very positive,” Greenslade said.

People interested in joining the Friends group can become members by paying a small fee each year. For example, individuals pay $25 per year or a family $40. Students and senior citizens become members by paying just $5 per year. Contributions and membership fees can be sent to: The Friends of the Spa State Park, 19 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.


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Thursday, June 12, 2008

give us a sign?

We asked the Park today to at least post a sign that Victoria Pool is not open since the public comes from all over the city,state and country at this time of year assuming it is open and it would be the kind thing to do. In the SARATOGIAN today and yesterday readers posted the following comments unfortunately anonymously:

On Sunday I hosted a bridal shower in front of the Victoria Pool and I saw many families with children trying to walk up and enjoy the pool on these hot days. I am in favor of opening the pools now and I think many people woud agree.

What a shame that the pools in Saratoga aren't open for Saratoga residents. As hot as it has been, you would think they would open the pools, but instead they just save them for the tourist.

80 degrees, 4:50 PM, Thursday, June 12,2008, Pool water is sky blue

Monday, June 02, 2008

Springs Walkabout at Saratoga Spa State Park

For Immediate Release: Contact: Andy Fyfe
June 2, 2008 (518) 584-2000 x 119

Spa Park to Host Historic Springs Walkabout for National Trails Day

Saratoga Spa State Park announces a walking tour to showcase the park’s historic springs and celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 7th, from 1 to 4 pm.

Park staff, in collaboration with The Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park will lead a walking tour of several active springs, and search for other springs that have disappeared through the years. Participants will have the opportunity to sample the springs, learn about their historical use and the legend and lore surrounding them.

As this event is also a celebration of National Trails Day, Park staff will hand out garbage bags to any volunteers willing to help clean our wonderful trails. Please come dressed appropriately.

This event is free and open to the public; however, registration is required. Please call the education office at (518) 584-2000, ext. 119, for registration and directions.

Saratoga Spa State Park, “The Public’s Resort,” is proud to have many miles of trails for walking, running or hiking. Maps are available at the Park Office. For our walk locations and other public hikes and classes, see our events calendar our web site at and also


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Public meeting to discuss Master Plan for Saratoga Spa State Park

We received a notice that a public information meeting will be held on Monday, June 16,2008 at 6:30 pm in the ballroom of the Gideon Putnam Hotel to get public input and questions on the development of a Master Plan for the Saratoga Spa State Park.
Park staff will give a brief overview of the planning effort and resources of the Park. Park Staff will answer questions and receive comments.