NISKAYUNA -- April showers bring May flowers.
August showers bring summer boys and girls -- to Blatnick Park in Niskayuna.
A spirited bunch of aqua enthusiasts visited Blatnick on Saturday to try the town's new splash pad. Officials turned on the 16-geyser, island-shaped pad for the first time.
Kids and teens from Niskayuna's "Wild Turkeys" swim team ran through the field of streams on a mild, 70-degree morning. Early reviews were positive.
"There are so many things to do," said Mirabella Cococcia, 9. "There are so many water things and they're all different. There's a palm tree and a pirate wheel."
The green-topped, hard plastic palm stands about 12 feet high. The "pirate wheel" shoots four separate streams of water.
"We originally wanted this for the town pool," said town Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw. "But we don't have the water pressure. Plus, the drainage is better here."
The project cost $170,000. McGraw, who said she has been working on the project for the past five years, said some work began last fall. "It started in earnest with first thaw, she added, "as soon as they could get back in."
Brett Steenburgh, a Niskayuna engineer, worked on the pad. Crews from the town's public works and highway and public facilities departments also helped put together the seasonal oasis.
The geysers are triggered by sensors, so people must walk on the cement to summon the showers. Timers will turn off the water. The pad will be open daily from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. and, unlike the town pool, will be open deep into September.
Matt Yetto, Niskayuna's superintendent of water, sewer and engineering, said more grass eventually will surround the pad. Once the green spaces are in place, town employees will bring more park benches and picnic tables to the pad area.
Officials said the pad isn't just for kids and teens. People of all ages are welcome. Athletes in the park -- baseball and tennis players visit Blatnick, and cyclists ride by -- may also try a walk-through.
Parents who watched kids try out the water world liked the concept behind the new addition. Some said small children may be anxious about swimming in such a large pool, but will be happy to frolic in the safe man-made rain storms.
"I just think it's a good use of this space," said Sally Bratten. "It brings added value to our park."
"Wild Turkey" coaches supervised the young turkeys on the pad.
"It's like something so different for Niskayuna," said Taylor Barber, 19. "Yeah, we can go to the pool, but this is so much fun. It's great to bring people together."
Maddie McCarthy loved the novelty.
"This is something you'd see at the Great Escape," said McCarthy, also 19, of the Queensbury amusement park. "Having it in our town is really cool."
Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]