EVANSTON — “We have received many inquiries as to when the splash pad at Hamblin Park will be open,” Scott Ehlers, Director of Parks and Recreation, said, “but there is more to be done before that happens and safety is our main concern. The city is now taking the lead to see it completed.”
Ehlers went on to explain that Shawn Moore, health inspector for the Department of Agriculture, provided a checklist of “to-dos” to complete before the final inspection and opening of the splash pad for the public can take place.
According to Ehlers and to Dustin Matthews, chair of the splash pad committee, just a few of those items include putting texture on the concrete to prevent falls, chlorination of the water, a venting system, flow arrows on the water pipes, installing a meter to measure water flow and safety signs.
In a telephone interview with the Herald, Matthews said that the safety signs had already been ordered and a required first aid kit has been placed in the building adjoining the pad. That building also houses the “brains” of the system — the water pumps and the chlorinator.
Matthews said the committee has worked hard for nearly three years to raise funds for the splash pad. Through grants received from Rocky Mountain Power, Walmart, Dominion Energy and the Wyoming Community Foundation; in-kind volunteer time and resources from local businesses; and with individual donations, the committee raised $95,750 and have a little over $4,000 remaining. The texture on the concrete alone will cost an estimated $12,000.
Matthews said that the City of Evanston has agreed to complete the necessary health and safety requirements. That work will take place on August 8 and the concrete needs to dry until August 14, when Matthews said Moore will once again inspect it.
When the splash pad in Hamblin Park is completed and up and running the Evanston Parks and Recreation Department will monitor and maintain it. A log book will be kept in the splash pad building for personnel to record daily monitoring data.
“We really hope that people can enjoy the benefits of the splash pad for a few weeks this summer before we have to winterize it,” Matthews said.
Ehlers thinks it will be a challenge to get it completed this summer and that there is more to ensuring a splash pad is safe than people realize. “It will be a fun and popular addition to Hamblin Park when it is complete but we want it to be safe,” Ehlers added.