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Beating the heat after beating the odds

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Albany/HV: Beating the heat after beating the odds
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We are in the middle of a heat wave and with temperatures expected to hit 90 every day this week, those in Green Island are thankful for a new addition to their village, especially since their water area would've been closed this year after not meeting certain requirements. Innae Park takes us there.

GREEN ISLAND, N.Y. – “We've never had numbers like this,” said Green Island Mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan.

But the mayor isn't talking temperatures. She's talking teens, kids and even adults who are enjoying the village's new spray park.

“Families are coming together. It's not just people bringing their kids and dropping them off,” said McNulty-Ryan.

It was a stroke of luck, not heat, that led to the new spray park, as Green Island couple John and Linda Kutey donated the funds they won from the lottery to help build this. In all, they gave $200,000 and free services from Jim Besha of Albany Engineering Corp. and Grimm Building Materials also led to the eruption of this water wonderland.

McNulty-Ryan said, “We have a state-of-the-art sprinkler park, over a quarter of a million dollars, and it didn't cost our taxpayers a nickel.”

Emilee Spoon, a young participant, said, “I'm just happy the people who loaned us the money to build it. I'm really thankful for them.”

Also free: The fun.

Park director Tom Mullins said, “This is one of the few water parks where you can limbo during the day and we also have a free lunch program.”

Mullins and his staff provide activities for youth throughout the day at Paine Street Park and he says about 85 lunches are served each day.

For families looking for a refreshing refuge for their children, this 'sprayground' is it.

Lauren Charlebois moved to Green Island a year ago and takes care of her five grandchildren.

“This park has been a savior for me with my grandchildren,” she said. “They come here every day, they stay for hours and I feel safe with them being here.”

She calls it a lifeline because she doesn’t have air conditioning at home.

Spoon said, “I know we're going to be safe and the park staff makes us have fun because they're always there.”

And they couldn't ask for a better place to be.

The Paine Street Park spray park is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to Green Island residents only. Lunches are provided through the New York Department of Education summer meals program. The village is also trying out a weekly night session, where the spray park will be open Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m.

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