Saturday, February 14, 2009 5:16 AM EST
By PAUL POST, The Saratogian
MOREAU —Local moms are concerned about possible cutbacks at Moreau Lake State Park’s swimming beach this summer.
Parks officials are considering a proposal to keep the beach closed Thursdays and Fridays to save money in the midst of a state fiscal crisis.
The move would reduce the amount of funding needed for lifeguards.
“The agency is re-evaluating our schedule in light of these difficult economic times we’re in,” said assistant director for the Saratoga-Capital Region Robert Kuhn. “Everything is under consideration.
“No decisions have been made.”
But a fact sheet distributed by the state sounds more definite.
Amy Cantor, owner of Omelette King Catering in Saratoga Springs, learned about the possible beach cutbacks when responding to an advertisement seeking bids for park concessions.
She was sent a packet of information.
“Prospective bidders are advised that current operations for 2009 include a reduced schedule for the swimming beach at Moreau Lake,” the state said. “The beach is expected to be closed on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the summer.”
The state is facing a possible $1 billion deficit this year and Gov. David Paterson has called on all state agencies to make reductions wherever possible. Cantor said the possibility of reduced Moreau Lake scheduling is an unwelcome development.
“It’s terrible news just from a personal standpoint,” she said. “I take my son there all the time. There’s the pool at Spa State Park, but there’s no place as fun and so close as Moreau Lake. It’s the only place to go.
“The court of public opinion should weigh pretty heavily here.”
Cantor said she has several friends with young children who frequent the park regularly.
The Saratoga-Capital Region consists of 10 state parks and 10 historic sites. In December, parks officials reported that shorter seasons, reduced hours and staff cuts were among possible cost-saving measures.
In addition, state parks gets most of its revenue from golf, camping and vehicle use fees, which might all be going up.
Regional Director Alane Ball Chinian has already said that parks will do less lawn mowing in 2009 to save on fuel, labor and equipment maintenance costs.
The following are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of saratogian.com.
Teresa wrote on Feb 14, 2009 6:25 AM:
" I bring my children there a lot over the summer and go camping there each summer. What do they plan on doing for the individuals camping there that look forward to walking to the beach each day? This is a real bad idea. I think they ought to cut staff and pay rates not take away from the people. "
anna wrote on Feb 14, 2009 7:19 AM:
" Closing the Moreau beach two days a week seems really mean..as where else are we to go? Does that mean seniors can use the park free on weekends. This is really the only summer pleasure I know...Please do not limit. "
mallory wrote on Feb 14, 2009 7:32 AM:
" seems to be alot of the beach goers at Moreau do NOT seem to be wealthy. This beach is most important to local families. Cut back in area where people can afford alternative recreatiion.
We NEED this beach all summer..every day. "
modest income person wrote on Feb 14, 2009 7:36 AM:
" consider closing cement pools but keep the natural beach open every day. "
ANN GREGG wrote on Feb 14, 2009 7:40 AM:
" There is not many places where a family can go anymore that doesn't cost a lot of money. A lot of towns don't have public pools and some families just can't afford to have a pool in their yard so where else do they go but to the beach. Closing on a thursday / friday is crazy. When do families go camping. End of the week, right? So this means on long weekends. So if a family goes camping on a thursday in the summer they can't go swimming till saturday. What kind of a impact will this have on the campgrounds or the picinic grounds that the people come in to use. This could result in tragedies of maybe sneaking into the lake swimming without lifeguards or will it be posted on thursdays and fridays as a swim at own risk. At least this way a parent could be responsible for their children. "
carole ann wrote on Feb 14, 2009 8:13 AM:
" how much pay do lifeguards earn? perhaps that could be posted and maybe some of our local busineses would be willing to chip in for the pay "