July 16, 2013

Splash pads an option for pool

Members say solution needed for aging pool.

by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune

---- — Logansport Parks and Recreation Board members are continuing to explore splash pads as what they feel may be an economic and efficient solution to the ailing Tower Park Pool.

At the board’s meeting Wednesday, Parks Administrator Jan Fawley gave a presentation on splash pads and spray grounds, which consist of nozzles spraying water out of the ground and/or from above-ground structures.

Fawley reiterated what she feels to be positive qualities of splash pads that she raised at last month’s board meeting, saying they require far less money and maintenance than pools and that lifeguards aren’t necessary. She also said they can be available to the public longer than the two months the pool is open for every summer.

“We could keep them open all the way through mid-October if it’s hot enough,” she said.

Fawley also informed board members of things to keep in mind if and when they decide to endorse splash pads, including location, space, parking, restrooms, landscaping, permits and access to trash bins.

Drainage was also a factor in Fawley’s presentation, which can ultimately be accomplished in two ways, she said — by completely draining the water and pumping fresh water out or implementing a recirculation system that would clean water that is drained before pumping it back through the system.

Jim Jackson, manager of the Water, Wastewater, Stormwater Department at Logansport Municipal Utilities, said in an interview that whichever option is chosen would require a backflow device to ensure contaminated water doesn’t make its way back into any potable water lines.

As far as which option would be the best way to go, Jackson said that it varies for every scenario and would ultimately be up to the owner’s discretion.

“If you recycle the water, you’re going to save on your water and sewer bill but sometimes treatment to get that water suitable to be used again is more of a hassle than buying fresh water and dumping it down the drain,” he said.

Fawley said prices on the splash pads range from about $30,000 to $85,000, depending on what kind of equipment is chosen and whether the city performs the installation or hires out.

In an interview after the meeting, Marty Monahan, a parks and recreation board member, said concessions stands could possibly accompany the splash pads to offset costs.

The board also discussed surfaces for these attractions and concluded concrete would likely be the best way to go, as rubber surfaces can attract vandalism through burning.

“This is just to start a discussion, to give an idea of what’s out there,” Fawley told board members during her presentation.

At last month’s meeting, Fawley said should the project receive positive feedback from the public and financial backing, the splash pads would be implemented on a tiered schedule. One at a time would be added to different parks with the pool available as well, she said, to gauge reactions.

The last time the Pharos-Tribune reported on this issue, the article received more than 20 comments online, many of which expressed disagreement with a splash pad solution and called for repairs or a replacement for the pool.

Parks and recreation board board members say there’s little that can be done for the more than 50-year-old pool and that the cost of a new facility would likely be well above an amount the city would be willing to appropriate.

Beth Myers, a board member, said she felt the splash pads wold be easier to maintain.

“It’s so expensive to repair pools,” she said.

Monahan called the splash pads “a viable solution.”

“We know we have to do something with the pool situation,” said Terry Doran, president of the parks and recreation board. “If we’re going to address this, we have to do it while the pool is still functional. To look ahead makes sense. We know we’re not going to have it forever.”