The Puyallup City Council unanimously approved a parks department request last week for a splash pad and to replace Pioneer Park playground equipment.
The parks, recreation and senior advisory board asked July 16 to have $550,000 transferred from the Park Capital Improvement Projects to the design, purchase and installation of a splash pad and the equipment upgrade.
More than 60 emails came flooding in to support the project following a story in the Herald earlier this month.
“I support this project, 100 percent,” said council member John Hopkins, who also talked about the tremendous work the advisory board did as it evaluated parks priorities. “This is a hugely popular project.”
The council warmed to the idea of locating a splash pad in Pioneer Park, but council member Tom Swanson encouraged city staff members to plan splash pads for other parks, such as Bradley Lake.
“This will absolutely be a magnet and increase trips to the park,” Swanson said.
Swanson and other council members, including John Palmer, stressed the importance of building additional splash pads in other city parks to alleviate the pressure from increased foot traffic to Pioneer Park.
“My caution is we don’t build it too big to avoid attracting an over supply of users,” Palmer said.
Some council members asked Parks and Recreation Administrator Sarah Harris where the splash pad would be placed. Harris said at least one bathroom is required to be within 100 feet, according to the state health department. She said the city can base the splash pad around two bathrooms — one located on the park grounds and the other located in the public library.
But council member Kent Boyle, however, noticed library director Tim Wadham’s uneasy reaction to the usage of the library restroom for the splash pad. Boyle said the clientele for the splash pad would be different from the library.
“The bathroom in the park will be the first bathroom of choice for the splash pad,” Harris assured Boyle and Wadham.
Boyle also worried about the conflict between the splash pad use and those who are renting out the pavilion facilities for weddings or other events.
Since the splash pad would utilize a potable surface irrigation system and would be set on a timer, hours of operation would be increased from the current 189 hours to 882 hours during the 14-week period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
“We would have to be sensitive to the rentals of the pavilion,” Harris said. “Moving forward, we should take the hours of operation into consideration.”
A decision to design and install the splash pad came because the city’s wading pool in Pioneer Park does not meet health department requirements.
Harris told council members a new splash pad would be accessible to children, teens, seniors and those who have various physical abilities.
“Thank you to the advisory board for helping me to do the research,” Harris said.
Parks Department capital projects
In addition to approving the transfer of $550,000 for the design and installation of a splash pad and new playground equipment at Pioneer Park, the Puyallup City Council also approved the following parks capital improvement projects:
• Land acquisition for the Riverwalk Trail Phase IV easement along East Pioneer, $40,000
• Completion of the Riverwalk Trail Phase IV, $400,000
• Puyallup Recreation Center exterior building evaluation and repair, $270,000
• Miscellaneous park equipment, $20,000Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.