Splishy splashy pad?
An animated group of about 30-plus people gathered in City Council Chambers on the night of Jan. 29 to help the Park and Recreation Advisory Board determine the best site for a city Splash Pad.
Several times the discussion deteriorated into the cost and types of splash pads, but most of the time the group stayed on subject.
It appears the top choices for the cooling summertime activity are Maple Street Park and Wait Park, although both have a number of cons against them.
Those two seemed to be the best location. Also on the list were Legacy Park, the Swim Center, land owned by others and Locust Park.
It needs to be a place that's already owned by the city, a site where a 2,500 square foot pad can be placed.
It can't be near the street, and must have water and other utilities, bathrooms, sun and shade, parking and contains other recreational facilities like swings and other playground equipment, said Mark Triebwasser, president of the Park and Recreation Advisory Board.
But from almost as fast as people named areas, there were reasons those locations might not work..
While Maple Street Park has a snack bar, enough room, all the utilities, the pad could be placed in an area away from a street and the park is sunny and shady, "it's too far north," said one resident while others agreed the splash pad should be centralized.
Some parents expressed fears for their children crossing Hwy. 99E walking or on a bike. Others thought parents would drive their kids and wait while they played. Some complained there just wasn't enough parking.
Business leaders hoped to keep the splash pad at Wait Park so people would be closer to businesses and it would be centralized, but others complained it was too shady and Grant Street was too busy.
Those proposing the downtown park thought it would increase downtown car and pedestrian traffic and encourage new businesses to move or relocate in the downtown area and spur economic development.
Some mentioned lands not owned by the city, which were ruled out simply because of the cost. It would be prohibitive for the city to buy the land added to the cost of building the splash pad. Others suggested building two pads, one at Wait Park and the other at Maple Street Park, but Mayor Brian Hodson thought the costs would be too high.
The meeting lasted almost an hour and a half, and made no conclusions.
However, the advisory board plans to discuss the splash pad with City Council members at their meeting on Feb. 20.