Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Two senators have secured $500,000 for repairs and renovations to the historic Victoria Pool at Saratoga Spa State Park ahead of its full-time opening on Saturday. State senators Kathy Marchione (R-Halfmoon) and Betty Little (R-Queensbury) will join Louise Goldstein and Andrew Jennings – the co-founders of Save the Victoria Pool Society – at 10:30 a.m. Thursday on Roosevelt Drive in the park to announce the half-million dollars in funding from this year’s New York State budget. The money will be used to make improvements to the Victoria Pool and promote the Victoria Pool Society’s 2014 volunteer drive, Marchione said. “We were shocked when we got the call,” said Goldstein of Saratoga Springs, a long time booster of the stately pool built in 1934. “We’re very grateful to Senator Marchione.” The persistent Save the Victoria Pool Society contacted and met with Marchione to explain the needs at the pool, Goldstein said. The group’s efforts in 2003 moved state leaders to provide $1.5 million in funding to fix the pool and keep it open. “Since we got the original money, there really hasn’t been a lot done,” Goldstein said. She said the pool’s once elegant lobby was dirty and empty of furniture, the site’s iron railings were rusting and lots of other work was needed. Constructed in 1934 during the Great Depression, Victoria Pool was the first heated pool in the United States. “This resource needs to be preserved and protected so future generations can experience and enjoy the full beauty of Victoria Pool,” said Marchione, who faces a challenge from former interim Troy schools superintendent Brian Howard, a Democrat from Troy, in November.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Victoria Pool to open Saturday, 6/7/14. let the moths out of your bathing suits, folks.

Daily Gazette article
Friday, June 6, 2014

June schedule is weekends only
By Justin Mason

Victoria Pool again opens early

— Fans of the Victoria Pool, get ready to make a splash.
Saratoga Spa State Park officials announced they will open the pool on weekends, starting Saturday. The pool will be open Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month, then daily starting June 30.
The early start will mark the second consecutive year the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation has opened the pool the first weekend in June. Last year, the state opened the popular park destination June 1.
Word of the opening was sweet music to Louise Goldstein’s ears. The co-founder of Save the Victoria Pool Society eagerly awaits the opening each year and has tirelessly lobbied park officials to open the landmark earlier than mid- to late June.
Goldstein and her friends make a tradition of catching the first and last day at the pool, plus many others in between. On Saturday, they plan to be there two hours before the pool’s 10 a.m. opening to secure its most precious resources: the forest green lounges and umbrellas.
“We’ll be lining up at 8 o’clock for those white doors to open,” she said Thursday, “then it’ll be a mad dash for the umbrellas and lounges.”
The park’s other pool, the Peerless Pool, will remain closed until June 28. Unlike the predominantly adult crowd that frequents the Victoria Pool, the zero-depth-entry Peerless Pool is typically used by children.
Constructed in 1934, the Victoria Pool was the first heated pool in the country. It is no longer heated but retains its original brick arches and walkways.
A hot spot for New York City Ballet dancers over the years, the pool fell into disrepair during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Goldstein and other fans founded the Save the Victoria Pool Society to push for funding to restore the structure. Then-state parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro committed $1.5 million to restoring the pool in 2005.
The massive overhaul included replacing the pool’s original filtration system, enhancing its landscaping, installing light fixtures and replacing the pool deck.
The Victoria Pool will receive another $500,000 in funding this year as part of $9.5 million in park improvements announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in April. Plans are for various aesthetic improvements, pool deck repairs, roof repairs and improvements to Catherine’s Restaurant, a privately operated business that serves pool-goers and golfers on the adjacent course.
Goldstein still hopes the state will consider opening the Victoria Pool on Memorial Day, when other parks around the region mark the start of the season. But for now, she’ll revel in the thought she and other fans will be basking poolside this weekend.
“Whatever is the magic of the pool, mostly it’s the people and people seeing each other after a long hard winter,” she said.