Tuesday, March 03, 2009

"Money goes down drain", Post Star 3/3/09

Devices to heat mineral baths go cold, as expected
Updated: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 10:31 AM EST

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SARATOGA SPRINGS - We had to do something.

That, in essence, is the sentiment from state officials who installed a pair of conventional water heaters at the Roosevelt Bathhouse in an effort to provide visitors with warm soaks in pure mineral water last summer -- an endeavor they say was undertaken even though they knew the heaters would fail.

The facility was prompted by the state to come up with a way to provide heated, pure mineral water baths after it was publicly revealed in 2007 that the bathhouse was using heated tap water to warm the icy, effervescent fluid that emerges from the springs at Saratoga Spa State Park.

After the tap water issue came to light, then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, then-state Sen. Joseph Bruno and current Attorney General Andrew Cuomo accused spa staff of failing to disclose the practice, which had persisted for nearly two decades following a boiler break at the facility.

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Under scrutiny to remedy the situation quickly, parks staff announced last June that two of the roughly 40 tubs at the historic bathhouse had been retrofitted with water heaters that could bring the 52 degree mineral water to a more comfortable temperature in two of the baths.

But rushed to complete the work, crews installed a pair of off-the-shelf, domestic water heaters they knew would not withstand the corrosive effects of the minerals flowing through them for long.

The heaters failed shortly after the end of the 2008 tourist season and have not been replaced since, said Alane Ball Chinian, the regional director for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

"It was a quick and dirty job and, with normal water heaters, we knew they would fail because of the corrosive nature of the mineral water," she said.

The two heaters cost the state a total of $5,974, she said.

For Louise Goldstein, a persistent critic of the park's management, any money that was put into the fruitless effort is disappointing, given the financial crunch the parks department is facing.

"To spend that money for nothing is just astounding," she said.

A second pair of baths was retrofitted with heating units soon after the first units were installed -- these with a customized system designed to keep the water in perpetual motion to prevent the minerals from eating into the pipes.

That system cost nearly $98,000 and remains functional.

But there are no plans to install such a system on other tubs because, staff members say, the consumer demand simply isn't there.

"There hasn't been a single time when we have had to turn someone away," Michelle Calzada, the spa's manager, said of the two heated pure mineral water tubs.

There are nearly 40 baths at the famed spa, which opened at the state park in 1935.

Water for the remaining tubs is warmed to 97 degrees with tap water, a fact that is now denoted prominently in the spa's advertising.

Sessions cost $25 for 40 minutes -- pure or mixed -- and are described as "the cornerstone of our luxury spa experience."

The bathhouse is now operated by Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts Inc., which began leasing the facility in 2008.

The company is putting $450,000 of its own money into updates, including new furniture, a refurbished lobby and a new "relaxation room."

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VictoriousVictorian said...

Lets see what anonymous of SITP has to say about this. Probably blast this society for posting something, blast this comenter for comenting or be obnoxious as usual...
Again there was a horrific crime commited in the Park and this is a time to love the park before it goes downhill were terrible things happen at night like urban parks.
I cant wait until the pool reopens so we can show them all in the region that there is more than horror and terror that happens in this park
Save the park!!

Anonymous said...

As I said before, I am going to pray for you. You are blind right now but perhaps some day you will see. You seem to be under the impression that I hate the park, I don't...I don't even hate the society. I just think their methods are disgusting and their attitude is too hostile. I will pray for you though, I will pray that you see one day VictoriousVictorian.

Anonymous said...

I cant believe that there was a murder in the state park; or whatever it may be it is awful. What a dreadful place, I'm certainly not going to go to spa park anymore until this issue is resolved.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't everyone stop for a second and remember what is truly important here. And that is the Victoria Pool and Louise Goldstein for being a persistent critic of the park's management. This must be very difficult for a woman in her 70's and she deserves a few accolades whenever she can get them.

VictoriousVictorian said...

Check your facts anonymous. Shes not as old as this blogger...

Anonymous said...

I beg your pardon of course. I was unaware of when her love for the pool began, she talks like she's been around since it has.

Anonymous said...

no facebook says different....

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter, I mean come on really?

Anonymous said...

Regardless shes not that old. She may not look like a woman in her 60's but imagine all the stress and hard work she has done in her life for our pool. Fighting "city hall" will get make anyone look old.

Anonymous said...

VictoriousVictorian and SITP -

There is a comment posted to you on the previous blog post....

VictoriousVictorian said...

well anonymous seems like you are literally stuck in the past. A new post has come and discussion have moved on. Maybe you should

Anonymous said...

Where is it mentioned that there is $300,000. wasted ? Wasn't that the point of other postings in this blog.....no where near the amount of $300,000. being spent on the Roosevelt baths was mentioned in the posted newspaper article.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't mentioned because it isn't true.