Water slide world at Thacher Park

NEW SCOTLAND — Thacher Park will be the first state park in New York to get a waterslide, said a spokeswoman for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation.
Two weeks ago, the state announced a $3 million project to completely renovate the pool complex at John Boyd Thacher Park in New Scotland. The old Olympic-sized pool will be taken out and replaced by a smaller pool, a 7,050-square-foot "leisure pool."

The new pool will feature what the parks department calls an interactive water play structure, a free swim area, and, at the far end, a large looping waterslide that empties into a roped-off area.

Also in the shell of the old pool, the park is going to install a 2,860-square-foot spray pad, with shallow water and spray for children to play in.

The main feature of the leisure pool will be its zero-depth entry. Like a beach, the pool bottom will slope off gradually from the surface. At its deepest, it will be four feet.
"That’s something we’ve done in another region," said state parks spokeswoman Cathy Jimenez. "It’s great for the younger swimmers and also for the handicapped."

One of the main purposes of the whole project, Jimenez said, is to bring the 50-year-old pool up to the current code according to specifications set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA, however, does not require zero-depth entry, she said.

In addition to the pools, the project will include a new bathhouse, a patron entrance area, a lifeguard room, a first-aid room, restrooms for patrons outside the pool area, new landscaping, shade structures, and seating areas.

Half of the price is covered by a grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

As far as she knows, Jimenez said, Thacher Park will be the only state park with a water slide—at least of this scale.
"It’s just to compete with some of the newer facilities in the area," she said.

Though the construction will shut down the pool the 2006 season, the parks department hopes the new pool will attract even more people to Thacher Park than it has before.

Already, the Olympic-size swimming pool is one of the biggest attractions at the park in the summer. Nearby towns, like Berne, use it for swimming lessons. For this summer, they must find an alternative.

Near Thacher Park, the state offers swimming in the muddier waters of Thompson’s Lake at the campground in Knox.

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