SPRINGTOWN — The saga of Springtown’s splash pad has ended as the Springtown City Council voted to permanently close the splash pad and order it to be demolished.
This action was taken during the council’s Jan. 25 meeting. City staff will research other park features that can go in that space.
During the Jan. 18 infrastructure workshop, City Administrator David Miller stressed that the council needed to decide what to do with the splash pad.
“We can't let it sit there any longer,” Miller said. “We got to do something with it, so we need to make that decision.”
The splash pad operated 2014-16 and has been closed since the 2017 season, City Secretary Christina Derr said. The splash pad was not financially self-sufficient and wasn’t producing a profit, let alone breaking even.
“Constructed in 2013, the splash pad was built without a recirculatory system which led to the use of hundreds of thousands of gallons of water each summer it was open to operate the attraction,” according to the city’s news release. “Due to the purchase, treatment and distribution costs of water (and the resulting wastewater from the system) needed to operate the system, the city council voted in the fall of 2016 to keep the splash pad closed for the 2017 season.”
In developing a park master plan — which was created with the public’s involvement — there were a few options for the splash pad: take it out and repurpose the space, repair and reopen it, or turn it into a fountain park, City Administrator David Miller said during the Jan. 18 infrastructure workshop.
The council had showed interest in transforming the splash pad into a fountain park, but that project is costly, and the city hasn’t been able to receive grant funds to help cover that expense.
Miller said it would cost about $250,000 to renovate the splash pad as well as add the recirculation system and about $160,000-$161,000 per year to maintain it, not including personnel expenses. Creating a fountain park would cost about $120,000 for the equipment, about $350,000 for the installation and ongoing costs like for water-cleaning chemicals and personnel.
During the workshop, council members brainstormed ideas of features that could replace the splash pad, such as pickleball courts or a community garden. Some council members still expressed interest in creating a fountain park.
“My opinion is some kind of water feature there because I think that would help the public opinion,” council member Scott Richardson said. “I think people would be happy to see at least some kind of water feature there instead of us just tearing it out and nothing there or putting in the pickleball courts or something.”
Meanwhile, some council members didn’t like the cost of a fountain park with a recirculation system. In addition, Mayor Pro Tem Walter Roberson was concerned about unintended consequences of the water feature, like kids getting infections.
“I just don't want us to be liable to those kinds of things,” Roberson said. “I don't care how much you monitor it. Something could happen. I think it’s too expensive. I say demolish it and do something else with that land.”
Despite their different ideas, council members did agree that the splash pad needed to be demolished in order to proceed. Restoring the space in-house is expected to cost about $15,000, Miller said at the workshop. The demolition will not include taking out the concession stand located near the splash pad.
Springtown City Council also discussed a variety of street improvements at the Jan. 18 workshop and approved moving forward on those upgrades in a vote at the Jan. 25 council meeting.
The city issued certificates of obligation last year and received about $4 million to spend on streets and park projects. These funds were first used for the city to reimburse itself for improvements made on Roy Lane, leaving about $3 million for other projects.
Miller told the council that city staff has identified multiple streets that can either be micro-surfaced or rebuilt in order to add another 10 years onto their lifespan. The estimated cost of these projects is almost $2.8 million. After receiving council’s approval, staff will seek bids on the street projects. Depending on the amount of the bids, the city may authorize a few additional streets be improved.
“The ability to fund such a large-scale project without increasing the city’s tax rate is directly attributable to the fiscally conservative financial practices and policies set by the city council and implemented by city staff, as well as the ongoing growth that we continue to see in our community,” Miller said in the city’s news release.
According to the council’s agenda packet, the street projects include: