With temperatures creeping towards 90 degrees F throughout the region on Monday and Tuesday, Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced that Cool Sweep operations would be in effect.
Serving as Rochester’s annual public safety and customer service program, Cool Sweep operations are set in motion when the forecast calls for temperatures that reach or exceed 85 degrees. These operations helps Rochester residents beat the heat and avoid the dangers of heat stroke with cooling sprays from city fire hydrants, extended hours at Durand Eastman Beach, public city pools, and spray parks.
Often used in Cool Sweep measures, splash and spray parks are opening up across the Rochester area. Last summer, one opened in Webster, with plans for another to open in Chili next summer. Most recently, Greece cut the ribbon on a splash park of its own.
Called the “Wild Over Water Zone” and located at the Town Hall campus, the new park in Greece is the largest in the entire western New York region, said Greece Supervisor Bill Reilich.
“To help you get a picture of how big it is, normally these kinds of spray parks have nine pipes for bringing water. We have 24,” Reilich said at the grand opening last week Thursday in front of a crowd of visitors eager to make a splash in the new park.
Reilich believes the park will help improve the quality of life for area residents, and will help foster a sense of community. “These are the type of things we want to provide to take a large town to allow it to have that small-town feel,” Reilich said.
Opening last August on Chiyoda Drive, Webster’s newest spray mark has already been met with a positive community response, said parks and recreation commissioner Mark Yaeger.
“It’s used when it’s 50 degrees out,” Yaeger said. “When it’s hot, the place is packed. We had to expand the parking lot this spring, double its size, because we had so many people coming to use it.”
Unlike swimming pools, which require round the clock maintenance and is recommended to be turned over once per 24-hours, public splash parks are less expensive to operate while still providing a fun way to stay cool.
“You don’t need lifeguards. It’s relatively inexpensive to operate, unlike a swimming pool,” he said. “It’s a great place for lots of kids to go climb on and stand under and get dumped on. … Folks come and make an afternoon of it,” Yaeger said.