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City moves forward with splash park

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Giles votes against grant, says vandalism is concern

By Meaghan Downs

Children may be splashing around in a new “splash park” as early as next summer if the city receives a matching $75,000 grant to move forward with the project.
The city council voted 4-1 to adopt a resolution for the mayor to apply for a Land and Water Conservation Grant to be used for the construction of an estimated $150,000 to $160,000 “wet play area” in the city park.
Council member Ken Evans was absent from the council’s Monday night meeting.
Mayor Edwinna Baker and City Clerk Robbie Hume said the city would need to budget matching funds of about $75,000 or 50 percent of the project’s total cost for next year if awarded the federal grant.  
According to Hume, this is the third Land and Water Conservation grant project the city has undertaken.
The splash park, at a proposed 3,000 square feet, features aquatic sprayers and spouts in the shape of marine life, animals and sports equipment.
The park’s water supply would come from a city water hook up, and shut off automatically at night, Hume said.  The splash park would operate on a timer with users pushing an activator to start the water features.
“Sounds good to me; it’s good news,” city council member Bobby Durr said. “We’ve been working on a swimming pool and that for years.”
City council member Larry Giles, who voted against the resolution, said he wasn’t against the idea of a splash park, but was concerned about the city’s ability to keep the water feature from being vandalized.
“You can’t keep the gazebo out there [from being vandalized], that’s my concern,” Giles said. “We need to talk about it to some extent.”  
Hume said the city would know by fall 2013 if it received the matching federal funds for the splash park, with construction to begin in the spring of 2014.
Any construction on the splash park would need to be bid to vendors, Baker and Hume said.