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Wellsville considers splash pad for summer fun

February 28th, 2014 Posted in Opinion

By Sarah Romero

WELLSVILLE—Children may have a new reason to put on their swimming suits and flip-flops this summer.

This is a splash pad in Marathon, Wisconsin

This is a splash pad in Marathon, Wisconsin.

Wellsville may install a splash pad north of the Wellsville Elementary School on East 100 South near the existing playground.

“Every year the recreation committee tells me we need a splash pad for the kids,” City Councilman Gary Bates said.

The splash pad would cost $70,000, Bates said. The City Council will apply for funding from the Recreation, Arts, Parks and Zoos (RAPZ) tax, which is distributed by Cache County.

“I’ve always had a bad feeling about splash pads because I went to a liability meeting and they said to be careful if we put one in because people slip and fall,” Bates said. “But I’ve talked to other cities who’ve put them in.”

Bates said Tremonton recently installed a splash pad costing $100,000, and Millville received $60,000 from the RAPZ tax to install one.

The RAPZ funding comes from a .1 percent local-option sales tax cachecounty.org. Money is distributed throughout Cache Valley to develop or improve parks, trails and recreational facilities.

Wellsville Mayor Thomas Bailey said he didn’t know what a ‘splash pad’ was. Councilman Perry Maughan explained: “It’s where you get in your speedo, your wife gets in her bikini and you run through the water,” he said.

A splash pad is a recreation area where children can play in the water without the risk of drowning. Nozzles on the ground spray water into the air, creating fountain-like streams.

Bates said the cement pad would be 50 feet in diameter, and would spray approximately 12 gallons of water into the air per minute. “There’s an on-and-off button, too, so it doesn’t just run continually,” he said.

The system can be set to operate for certain hours during the day. Bates said this would help conserve water and could be adjusted depending on the water conditions each year.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Councilwoman Karen Higley said. “A lot of us with young kids are going all the way to Logan to play in the water. I think it would appease a lot of people, just to keep the kids here in Wellsville.”

Many considerations go into selecting RAPZ-funding awards, according to the county website. An eight-member board considers all applications and makes funding recommendations to the Cache County Council. The board considers how much match money, labor, materials and equipment will be provided, how often the public will use the facility if installed, and whether previous RAPZ awards were effectively used.

Wellsville city manager Don Hartle says Wellsville would need to contribute matching funds to be competitive for the RAPZ money.

“If I were on that committee and someone made an application for 100 percent funding, I wouldn’t give it to them,” he said. “If we can come up with $10,000, it’s some kind of contribution and we’ll have a better chance to get the grant.”

Maughan said he’d be willing to clear the ground for the splash pad with a backhoe to help cut the cost of labor, and the council agreed it would provide the cement and ask for volunteers to help with labor.

City Councilman Carl Leatham expressed concern about where the water would drain. Some splash pads recycle the water, but for sanitary purposes, Bates said it should drain into the city’s irrigation system.

“Putting the water back into the irrigation system allows people downstream to use the water to water their gardens,” Bates said.

The excess water from the irrigation system ends up in a pond behind the cheese factory. Leatham said he was concerned the chlorinated water could contaminate the pond and cause problems for the factory.

But Maughan said the chlorine wouldn’t be an issue.

“I don’t think there would be any environmental impact,” said Maughan. “The chlorine would probably dissipate by the time it got to the cheese factory.” The cheese plant on North 200 East by Black Willow Pond is now closed.


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