Schenectady

Hydrant tweak in Schenectady keeps people cool

City aims to deploy devices soon
Ernesto Melly, 12, takes a break from playing basketball to run through the sprinkler Tuesday
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Ernesto Melly, 12, takes a break from playing basketball to run through the sprinkler Tuesday

Categories: News, Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY — While those with backyard pools and air conditioning have found relief amid the hot summer days, others have been left to tough it out.

To lessen the sting of city pools remaining closed over coronavirus concerns, the city has devised an attachment to fire hydrants that allows for a controlled sprinkler-type effect.

The technology is decidedly low-tech: One end of a hose is hooked to the hydrant, and the other contains a two-pronged nozzle that sprays water.

A prototype at Central Park spurted dueling arcs of water 25 feet across a parking lot.

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The lot was empty mid-morning Tuesday except for a lone man sitting in his car drinking hard seltzer and blasting salsa music. At one point, he took a cruise through the sprays.

By late-afternoon, the scene was more lively, with dozens of kids playing basketball in the nearby courts, boxing and lounging in the shade.

“It gives people a spot to cool off and they can do that in a safe way,” said Terry Anderson, who was enjoying the afternoon with her grandkids, Zayda and Priti.

Anderson said she agrees with the city’s decision to keep pools closed, and encouraged officials to continue to think of creative solutions for residents to beat the heat.

“Better safe than sorry,” she said.

Several motorists took a loop through the lot, using the device as a quick (and free) car wash.

Mayor Gary McCarthy said the city plans to deploy the makeshift devices in other locations.  

“We’re looking for sites to do other ones throughout the city,” McCarthy told lawmakers on Monday.

But proper drainage is a key factor to consider, he said.

City Council members appeared delighted at the low-tech fix.

“It would be wonderful to see more hydrant contraptions, if you can call it that,” said Councilwoman Marion Porterfield.

Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo also hailed the device, noting a constituent tipped her off to someone swimming in Central Park’s duck pond.

“We know that’s very unhealthy in terms of the quality of the water,” Perazzo said.

Cooling stations are also available at City Mission and Bethesda House.

Councilman Ed Kosiur said the city should do more to promote its assets.

“We just need to get folks informed of what we have out there,” he said.

 

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