By REBECCA ISENHART
NISKAYUNA — This summer, the Town of Niskayuna will replace its kiddie pool with a water sprinkler playground. Town officials hope the project will improve safety at the town recreation center while providing an exciting new summer respite for families with children.
Town Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw said the installation includes a plan to level the area. “Even though we post in the kiddie pool now that an adult has to accompany each child and have lifeguards, it’s just a lot safer and better to have everything on one level,” she said. The current wading pool is recessed and can be difficult for parents and lifeguard staff to see from the main swimming area.
John Hirliman, Administrator Director of Recreation in Saratoga Springs, oversees five spray parks in Saratoga County and said the inherent safety benefits were obvious. “There’s a limited potential for drowning, and cleaner water because the water is filtered out,” he said. The Niskayuna play area will have a non-slip surface and less than an inch of standing water at any given time, according the the web site for the manufacturer, Splash Zone LLC.
The model the town chose to install is also an environmentally friendly option that uses a UV filter to process and recirculate water, unlike typical sprinklers that attach to a hose and draw a constant stream.
Attendance at the spray parks in Saratoga, which were installed about five years ago, bodes well for the new Niskayuna installation. “When you look at the park on a sunny day, you will see more kids around the spray pad than anywhere else,” Hirliman said. “These have become so much more popular than a wading pool.”
McGraw said if all goes well, the park will open for the season along with the pool on June 14. She hopes the upgrade will improve the value of the recreation center for all town residents. “Everyone in the town pays for it one way or another, whether they are actually members or it’s just part of the their tax dollars. So it is an asset, and we want to make it as attractive and user friendly as possible,” McGraw said. “For those who really do enjoy town facilities, we want to make it as good as it possibly can be.”