Local governments waver on reopening pools, playgrounds


CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Folks were not expecting Governor Cuomo’s sudden decision Thursday allowing local governments to make their own calls on when public services like pools and playgrounds should open.

“I was a little surprised, but you know I think that everyone’s trying to open up what they can at this point,” says Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan.

Mahan says she already announced back in May public pools would not open this summer. She says she still doesn’t see that changing, even with the governor’s change of mind.

Even though maintenance at the community pools is on track, the town is still expected to suffer a $7 million revenue loss.

“We have not hired our seasonals back this year due to funding. Some of the people in our parks and recreation and DPW have been assigned to other locations where we can have things going on and keep people working,” Mahan explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Over in Troy, the long suffering pool problems may be over soon — at least for the South Troy pool. They’re still working on hiring staff and getting paperwork in order, but the plan is to open with the usual summer season. A statement from Mayor Patrick Madden’s office reads:

The announcement from New York State allowing the reopening of swimming facilities is welcome news for communities like Troy. The City is working with the project contractor on final commissioning of the South Troy pool, including scheduling of required inspections by the County Health Department. In the meantime, we are working on necessary documents for the safe operation of the pool so that it will be ready to open this summer. However, reopening will depend on hiring sufficient staff to oversee and operate the facility.

As we begin a safe return to normal operations during COVID-19, design work on the Knickerbacker Pool will continue as indicated during the 2020 budget process.

A statement from Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says she plans to have community facilities open by July 3:

As for playgrounds, Mahan says that too may take a little longer to figure out the logistics.

“Kids tend to gravitate to each other, very difficult to keep them apart, and try keeping little kids hands out of their mouth’s. Things like that. If there’s going to have to be social distancing or certain numbers, all those things would play into it,” she says.

Mahan adds at least in Colonie, they’re tying to keep other fun summer activities going like the local farmers market, bike and hiking paths.

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