Plans presented to Board of Trustees for water splash pad park addition, Mayor Tatum says goodbye

man holds up plaque with woman in reindeer ears next to him
Stillwater Mayor Judith Wood-Shaw and village Trustees presented a plaque and cake in December to former Mayor Frank Tatum honoring him for his service to the village.

With the official start of winter just days away, village board members focused their thoughts Dec. 18 on the start of spring, and the warm weather months to follow when Stillwater children will be looking for a fun way to cool off.

So with this in mind, detailed plans for the addition of a water splash pad were presented at the board’s December meeting by Jim Ball, owner of Clear Water Pools in Greenwich. For the last several months the village has been considering the splash pad for the American Legion property. In October, Trustees voted to put aside a $1,500 deposit to get on Clear Water’s busy construction schedule for the spring of 2019 pending approval by village engineers.

This month Trustees reaffirmed their commitment to the splash pad idea following a one-hour presentation and question and answer session at Village Hall.

The splash pad is an alternative to a swimming pool and would be open to the public during warm weather months. Unlike a swimming pool, it would be more cost effective because it requires minimal maintenance, no chemicals and no need for a lifeguard because there is no standing water.

“It’s much cheaper and safer than a pool,” Ball said, “and it’s always being used frequently in the places we’ve been involved.”

Clear Water Pools installed a splash pad at Gannon Park in the Village of Greenwich about eight years ago and has experience in other municipal installations. Upcoming projects include the Town of Moreau and the City of Mechanicville has also inquired as well, Ball said.

The splash pad being proposed for the Village of Stillwater would be a 30-foot circle made of poured concrete and feature 24 water jets shooting water upwards and in various directions from the ground as children run through it to cool off. It would also include a 4-foot, non-slip circular concrete walkway (surrounding the splash pad area) and a push button timer to shut the water off every 4-5 minutes.

Clear Water has quoted the village $34,800 for the splash pad, surrounding walkway, accompanying pump/electrical shed, parts and installation, and servicing when needed. Ball said they could also start it up each spring and winterize and cover it at the end of the season at an additional cost of around $350.

Mayor Judith Wood-Shaw, who first proposed the splash pad idea several months ago as Trustee, said the village has money set aside to fund the project from a “public benefit donation” made by a local contractor.

Village leaders have been exploring this and other ideas for upgrading the downtown Legion park area with the vision of creating an active hub of outdoor recreation for Stillwater children and families. The land is owned by the Legion but the village oversees the recreational facilities there. Recently, the village secured a $50,000 state grant to help renovate the basketball courts and bring in Project Backboard, a venture they hope to also complete by the spring. Plans are also being discussed to add a pickle ball court and improve the small playground already there. A special village parks and recreation committee is overseeing the renovation plans.

Most of the questions during the Ball presentation focused on how much water consumption the splash pad would demand, as well as water drainage issues and the potential need for state permits. Ball also recommended a non-climbable fence and locks be installed to prevent theft and vandalism.

In other business Dec. 18:

  • The Board held a public hearing and adopted a new local law changing the date of the fire department’s annual election of officers from the first Tuesday in April to the first Monday in December. The change dovetails with the village general elections, which were moved in 2018 from March to November.
  • The Board approved the results of the most recent fire department officer elections. Administrative Officers: President, Tracey Pommer; Vice President, Amy VanArnum; Secretary, Jeri Mehan ; Treasurer, Bill Mehan; Steward, Jeri Mehan; Trustees, Tom Caivana and Joe Fitzpatrick Sr. Line Officers: Chief, Toni Conti; 1st Assistant Chief, Jeff Mahar; 2nd Assistant Chief, Jeri Mehan; Captain, Joe Fitzpatrick; Lt, TJ Fitzpatrick and Lt: Ronald Minor.
  • The Board appointed Laurence Case as village Fire Marshall, a volunteer position whose duties include fire code enforcement and investigating fire origin and causes.
  • The Board passed the annual reorganizational resolution for 2019.
  • The Board approved amendments to the village employee personnel manual including changes to the sexual harassment policy necessitated by a new state sexual harassment prevention law.
  • The Board discussed replacing its 30-year-old diesel sludge hauling truck used at the sewage treatment plant with a used or new model. Trustee Timothy Campbell said the current truck is a 1987 model with more than 1.3 million miles on it. The engine and brakes are in bad condition, he said, and are beyond repair. The truck is used 16-20 hours a week and is no longer safe to drive on highways especially when carrying a full load of up to 63,000 pounds. If the village has to haul sewage to Albany or Glens Falls for disposal in the meantime, it may have to contract with an outside vendor to do so at a cost of up to $175 an hour until the truck can be replaced.
  • The Board continued to discuss what to do about its aging firehouse which would cost about $75,000 to repair its structural damage and electrical upgrade needs, said Trustee John Basile. The village has been researching newer firehouses built in the area as an alternative to the repairs. Fire officials visited the new Greenwich firehouse that was built for about $723,000. If new construction is the preferred option a firehouse addition to the village Department of Public Works garage maybe is a possibility, Basile said. “Then the question is: ‘What do we do with the current (firehouse) building?’” No decisions were made.
  • The Board accepted the resignation of Linda Sander as village Historian for the purpose of retirement after more than 30 years in the position.
  • Mayor Wood-Shaw and Trustees presented former Mayor Frank Tatum with a plaque and cake, thanking him for his dedicated service leading the village. Tatum did not seek re-election in November, and Wood-Shaw was elected Stillwater’s new Mayor.