Saturday, September 27, 2008

Alert!! Dog Park at Saratoga Spa State Park in danger.

Rumor has it Saratoga Spa State Park is planning to shut down the immensely popular Dog Park on the other side of the Route 9 Avenue of Pines entrance because of the Karner Blue butterflys. With 2500 acres why isn't there room for both? Our tax dollars NOT at work again?

Friday, September 26, 2008

SPAC Rocks, Times Union 9/26/08

SPAC sales: Rock rocks, but orchestra strains

Last updated: 7:17 p.m., Friday, September 26, 2008

COLONIE - The Police, Journey and other big-ticket rock acts put on by promoter Live Nation helped the Saratoga Performing Arts Center break even this summer, despite a continuing slide in the number of tickets sold for the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet.

The orchestra, ballet and other SPAC-run shows accounted for $2.6 million in ticket sales, but the amount was still a 9 percent drop from 2007. The total attendance for those shows was about 88,000, also a 9 percent drop, SPAC Chief Financial Officer Richard Geary said.

The board blamed the downturn in classical sales on a crumbling economy and a soggy summer that saw rain mar several performances.

"We had the same kind of season as the track, where sales were (also) down," Board Chairman Bill Dake said during a SPAC board meeting today at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center.

The board said ticket sales for Live Nation's show, which also featured the Dave Matthews Band and Bob Dylan, shot up by more than 27 percent. The board declined to say exactly how many people went to the rock shows, but said that the high attendance kicked in SPAC's bonus clause with Live Nation and it received another $65,000 on top of its guaranteed $1 million.

But SPAC lost more than $1 million alone on the New York City Ballet, which had $1.2 million in sales and $2.3 million in expenses. The performing arts center took an even more devastating hit with the Philadelphia Orchestra, which saw sales of only $742,000 but had expenses of more than $2 million.

"It's disappointing that, with the orchestra, we are now covering only 37 percent of the costs with ticket sales," Geary said.

SPAC had budgeted for $375,000 more in classical sales - including its Freihoefer Jazz Festival - this year. Regardless, some board members said they were happy with the turnout.

"The overall attendance, while not pleasing to all of us, is good compared to what's happening elsewhere in the art world and sales at organizations similar to us," said Dake.

Other elements that helped make up for the classical sales shortfalls were more advertising and more endowments, SPAC President and Executive Director Marsha White said.

Dake made dire predictions for the 2009 summer season.

"The economy will have an impact not only on us but also on our partners," he said. "There is a triple threat: sales go down, endowments go down and subscriptions go down."

Friday, September 19, 2008

SPAC facade stalled, Saratogian, 9/16/08

Budget, design stall SPAC facade overhaul
By ANN MARIE FRENCH , The Saratogian

SARATOGA SPRINGS - While renovations of other parts of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center are moving forward, the overhaul to the facade continues to be stalled in discussion of conceptual designs and budget numbers.


Alane Chinian, regional director of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, said Wednesday the conceptual redesign of the building came in over budget, but she did not offer detailed figures.

The original design, presented in May, was meant to reflect musical sound waves and the waves of streams passing through the park, said Bob Bristol, president and CEO of Saratoga Associates, the company behind the design. Bristol said the amphitheater's new look was under design for roughly a year, with input and review by Parks and the SPAC board. The wave-like patterns were to be made of beige-colored recycled material. Critics said it looked more like a stack of pancakes than waves.

"They are proposing something much more conservative, which is really an updating of what is there now," said Chinian. "We want to reflect SPAC as a modern, contemporary, world-class facility but still stay in budget."

The amphitheater has not seen major exterior improvements since it opened in 1966. Globe lights on outside ramps leading to the balcony will be replaced with more subdued ground illumination. The ramps themselves will see a facelift as will the sound system and renovations to the lower level restrooms.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

why were the Victoria Pool fundraisers stopped by Parks after 2 yrs.?

Parks asked to trim budgets
By ANN MARIE FRENCH , The Saratogian

A Saratoga Spa State Park groundskeeper mows the grass near the Lincoln Baths.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Saratoga-Capital District region of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has been asked to trim an additional 7 percent from its current budget in addition to the 3 percent the governor had asked of all departments.

Alane Chinian, the regional director, said all 11 regions have been asked to trim their costs in this year's budget even as they are submitting their proposed 2009-2010 budgets. The announcement came Wednesday morning at the quarterly meeting of the Saratoga-Capital District State Park, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commission. The commission voted to approve the proposed $9.9 million state operations budget request presented by Chinian.


"There are no capital costs in this budget. This is purely just trying to keep the doors open," said Heather Mabee, chairperson of the commission. The operational budget does not provide money for building renovations or expansion of services. Ten parks and seven historic sites are located within the region, which includes all of Saratoga County and all or part of seven other counties.

To develop the proposed budget, Chinian said the group did what it has always done - use the current fiscal year base and add in fixed cost increases and contractual increases.

The current fiscal year base is $9,452,600 and Chinian said the figure includes the 3 percent in cuts already completed. It does not, however, reflect the additional 7 percent of cuts the region is currently making.

"It has really been hurting us," said Chinian. She said many of the cuts are coming from not replacing people who are retiring or leaving their positions. The decision not to fill vacant positions is not one Chinian made voluntarily but is a result of a statewide hiring freeze, which went into effect over the summer. To make the necessary cuts, Chinian said other changes will take place.

"There will be more people let go," she said. "Temporary and seasonal staff will be let go early."

While the discussion of closing some of the parks in the region was broached, Chinian said to do so may prove to be more expensive than keeping them open. Currently, a number of park managers are responsible for the operation of multiple parks and in some cases there is no other staff in place to do the work if those managers were to retire or move into other positions.

"I think the big fear is there is a perception we're fat," Chinian said. "We've been operating a lean budget for years. There is going to be an impact."

The chairpersons of each region met in July and one topic of discussion centered on private fundraising for the state park system in anticipation of limited funding from the state. Mabee said the state has never utilized private fundraising but acknowledged that many of the regions have volunteer, non-profit programs they are affiliated with that do seek out private funding.

"We just have so much in our capital budget needs," she said. "There is $700 million across the state that needs to be done today."

While talks of fundraising are in their infant stages, she said the statewide initiative would be executed on a regional level. More information is expected at the commission's December or March meetings.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pool rehabilitation 2004-5

Lots of recent comments do not acknowledge the reason Save the Victoria Pool Society was formed in 2003 following ten years of trying to work with NYS Parks to no avail as the pool and park deteriorated at an increasingly alarming rate.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Not a moments too soon for NYS Parks to develop a Senior Lifeguard Corps for next Memorial Day

NYS Parks could actually develop a senior lifeguard program probably with the Y and easily solve the personnel shortage. Just check out the Y pool all year long. Certainly the Victoria Pool is primarily for adults and a senior life guard corps would be a great addition. Below are general qualifications for Senior Lifeguard._



Under general supervision, an employee in this class supervises and assigns the work of Lifeguards at a public beach or swimming pool. Work includes conducting regular swimming, lifesaving and artificial resuscitation exercises to maintain maximum efficiency and physical fitness of Lifeguards. The employee may assume complete responsibility for lifeguard operations in a small public swimming area, or assist in supervising a large swimming facility. Work is reviewed by a Chief Lifeguard or administrator through the observation of swimming area activities, daily consultations and reports. Does related work as required.


Plans and supervises the work of Lifeguards assigned to a small public beach or swimming pool, or assists in the supervision of a lifeguard program at a large public beach;

Maintains physical fitness and efficiency of Lifeguards by allotting time for daily swimming, rowing, running and lifesaving exercises; assists or conducts an in-service training program for Lifeguards;

Assigns Lifeguards to routine beach maintenance patrols to dispose of debris, when this does not interfere with bathers' safety;

Enforces the rules and regulations relating to beach or pool areas; resolves disputes between Lifeguards and patrons and refers more difficult problems to the appropriate authorities;

Keeps abreast of the latest lifesaving techniques and methods;

Keeps time records on employees; prepares routine and emergency activity reports.


Thorough knowledge of lifesaving and resuscitation methods and first-aid techniques; thorough knowledge of facility rules and regulations; skill in pool and surf swimming, lifesaving and first-aid techniques, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation; ability to plan, supervise and direct the work of Lifeguards in a manner conducive to full performance and high morale; ability to establish and carry out preventive water safety precautions, to recognize emergencies and to take effective action; ability to establish and maintain effective public relations; physical condition commensurate with the demands of the position.


Two (2) seasons' experience as a Lifeguard.


1) t the time of appointment, candidates must possess or have possessed a certificate as a Lifeguard appropriate for the facility to which the incumbent is assigned, issued by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services or a New York State Department of Health approved testing agency.

2) t the time of appointment, candidates must possess a certificate in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, issued by the American Red Cross or Heart Association within the last year.

September 5, 2008, 90 degrees and Victoria Pool closed

A perfect weather week since Labor Day, sunny and 80's and hitting 90 on Friday. All that money lost in these difficult economic times.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hearty thanks to Park Staff and friends for a great Labor Day closing Party

Everyone brought great food and pool staff was great. Let us all hope that next years opening day party on Memorial Day will be the BEST ever. Let's make it happen.