Watervliet splash park coming to city pool

WATERVLIET – There are big plans for the "big pool," as it’s known — plans four years in the making.

The Little Critter’s Waterpark will have one area for toddlers, and another attraction for children a little older, with decks, tip buckets and a waterslide.

At first, the plans were on a smaller scale. It was Watervliet native Scott Earl who wanted to include more children and upped his donation when he saw preliminary plans.

"And then when we sat down with Scott and Scott looked at it, and he goes, ‘No, no I don’t think so,’" said Watervliet Mayor Charles Patricelli. "He goes, ‘I’d like you to add the other part of it, and I’ll give you up to half a million.’ I didn’t know what to say!"

Earl handed over a check for $500,000. It’s possibly the largest private donation the city has ever seen.

Earl owns Twin Bridges Waste Management and Prestige Vending. His hometown has a special place in his heart.

"Having grown up in the city of Watervliet was probably the highlight of my life. I enjoyed the streets. I know most of the people. Collecting garbage, so I saw every single home from the back alley, the trash cans in the front and the alley behind the house. Saw the grapevines and the tomato vines and the way that people really took care of their properties," he said.

Mark Aragona volunteered to design and build the project. He’s president of Wizard Works Design Group, which does water parks all over the world. His wife grew up in Watervliet.

The splash park will be state-of-the-art, using Smart Works technology. Aragona said all the play features will be communicating with a computer.

"So it uses the water very economically," he said. "When there are no patrons playing on the play structure, the computer turns itself off to conserve water."

Mayor Patricelli believes a project like this elevates the entire city. He hopes to have the Little Critter’s Waterpark up and running when the city opens the pool this coming summer.