Sections of Peerless Pool closed
By NEIL KIRBY , The Saratogian
SARATOGA SPRINGS - While not quite a flop, this year's season at Victoria and Peerless Pools at Saratoga Spa State Park has hardly gone swimmingly.
Not surprisingly, a three-week-late opening at the family-oriented Peerless Pool this year resulted in lower attendance figures than the 2007 season.
But that's not the only problem - the pools have become short-staffed as lifeguards leave to return to school, forcing officials to close sections of the Peerless Pool, including the popular slide pool.
"A lot of them started going back to school," said Mike Greenslade, park manager of Saratoga Spa State Park, as only one section of the Peerless Pool remained opened. Greenslade said more lifeguards will be home from school and available to work this weekend, so more sections will be open.
"We try to open as much as we can when possible," he said. "Each pool has a minimum number of guards needed to open it. It's quite an area to cover."
The opening of the Peerless Pool was delayed when wet weather in May and June prevented workers from finishing a $168,000 rehabilitation project. The pool finally opened July 18 with a new rubber liner, which required at least five days of dry weather to install.
Lower attendance for all the pools resulted in substantially lower revenue for 2008. According to Greenslade, 33,914 patrons attended the pools as of Aug. 27 this season, while 57,617 people visited the pools up until Aug. 27 of last season. Attendance data for each individual pool is not collected, Greenslade said.
"Of course we've had crummy weather late July and early August," he said. "Generally this time of year our numbers do dwindle anyway. People are going home from vacation, they're kind of done with the pool thing for the year, a lot of the big day camps don't come anymore, they're done, and generally the last week or two of the pool being open, it's much quieter."
The pools began the season with fewer lifeguards than previous seasons. While park officials aim to hire 20 to 25 lifeguards, they started the season on the lower end of that spectrum, Greenslade said.
"It's not flipping burgers," said Alane Chinian, regional director for New York State Parks and Recreation. "This is a job where you have to have some training, and we're looking for responsible people and they do an excellent job, but it's a commitment and it's tough to find young people willing to put in that kind of effort."
Lifeguards are sometimes borrowed from the nearby Grafton and Moreau State Parks to fill in the gaps.
"Generally we have the largest staff here at this park, so if we have the guards to spare we'll send them out from here," Greenslade said. "It does pose some problems for travel and such, but we try to work with the guards themselves to make sure we have the time. If we have a vehicle available, they use that."
Two lifeguards also had to bow out after injury, Greenslade said. One hurt her ankle during required service training, while another slipped during a rescue and smashed his face, breaking his nose and an arm.
Visitors will be told at the gate which sections of the pool are open.
While parking for Victoria Pool is free, the price to enter is $6 for adults and $3 for children.
Parking at Peerless Pool costs $6. Attendance costs $3 for adults and $1.50 for children. Ages 5 and under are free at both pools.
The pools' hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. The pools will officially close after Labor Day.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Peerless Pool bathrooms are a disgrace and noone w...":
the bathrooms at peerless pool are ABSOLUTELY DISCGUSTING. I am a mother who brings her two children to both the Victoria and Peerless pools, and even my children prefer the Vic because it is cleaner. We went into the bathroom at the Peerless this summer to find fecal matter all over the floor in one stall. There is no excuse for that.