State park to see array of upgrades

Plans to improve a local summer hotspot were unveiled on Monday, July 7, accompanied by assurances of multi-seasonal athletic fun for a wide range of patrons.

Capital improvements to John Boyd Thacher State Park are expected to be completed by 2010, according to information provided by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Officials stated that the improvements will total $7 million and will feature a new recreation area in addition to a sprayground.

"A new sprayground will have over 40 spray features, including tumble buckets, super soakers and water cannons. There will be distinct areas for different age groups, surrounded by a shaded deck as well as sunbathing, eating and open lawn areas. In addition, the bathhouse will be reconstructed," according to a statement from the parks office.

Legislators and officials gathered at the aquatic facility in Thacher Park to unveil new plans.

"I have a feeling that this is really going to put the park on the map," said Assemblyman John McEneny D-Albany, whose district houses the park. "It is important that we take our obligation of stewardship seriously, as we bring this wonderful resource up to all that it can be."

McEneny said he has a 3-year-old grandchild and will frequent the park with his family.

The parks office stated the recreation area will be expanded and will include two picnic pavilions. The pavilions will have sand volleyball courts and horseshoe pits, as well as a basketball court and games court. The park will also be installing a 250-foot track, a climbing area, and several new playgrounds. Other improvements include paving four new parking lots and improving the drinking water system.

"While the main attraction of this recreational area will be the sprayground, we are also excited that all of the other features will be three-season, providing great play opportunities from spring through fall," state parks Commissioner Carol Ash said in a written statement.

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