Payson’s Splash Pad Process… UPDATED
January 29, 2020 – The desire for a Splash Pad was prompted by local families and a group of individuals who would later become members of the newly formed Splash Pad Committee. The members of the committee are Kris Morrissey, Sharon King, Lori Mills, Deb LaBonte, and Lori Thompson. This committee came about because there was a lot of buzz in the community, from mostly families, who saw Splash Pads being installed at other places in the state. Splash Pads are a great way to cool off in the hot Arizona summer months and are at town parks, hotels, resorts, and RV parks.
Painted Sky Engineering volunteered to walk the space with the committee and help them understand the logistics of putting a Splash Pad in that area. They were looking to use an area of approximately 3,000 sq/ft. The pad itself is smaller, but includes an over-splash area. The committee met with the Sanitation Department to discuss their options, and found that the selected area had the proper drainage needed. Then they met with the Water Department and APS. This helped the committee know what would need to be done before beginning work. Most of the needed elements (water, electricity, sewer) were there, so from an engineering stand point the proposed spot was also the most ideal.
When the committee met with APS, the Sanitary District, and the Water Department each looked at the space, and were optimistic about the possibilities. It is contiguous to the playground as well as the restroom. This was important because there will be legislation coming soon regulating the distance of a Splash Pad to a restroom. They must be close, so by putting the Splash Pad in this space, it will be ahead of those regulations.
The water features were also a cost factor. Operation cost is dependent on the water features. There are many different kinds of water features, from dumping buckets to spray cannons. A single feature can cost up to $50,000. That obviously was not a recommendation from the committee. The proposed plan would cost approximately $200,000 to put the pad in place along with 4-6 water features. When the Town takes over the project, they would have the freedom to choose the water features that would like and are within budget.
The Splash Pad serves the Town’s community, it’s on Town property, and it would be maintained by the Town, so it should be paid for by the Town. Snowflake and Holbrook received grants via National Parks and Recreation for projects like the Splash Pad. Stay tuned for updates on the progress!
May 4th, 2023 UPDATE:
At the April 26th Town Council Meeting the council voted to stop the Splash Pad project as presented. They then directed staff to pursue other options which could include working with the state grant provider to make adjustments to have the Splash Pad cost come in under the grant’s $500,000 allotted cost. The breakdown is $250,000 paid by the grant and $250,000 paid by the town. The town could also pursue additional grant funds if they wanted to.
The current $798,951 Splash Pad estimate has been grossly inflated and contains trivial add ons that could be adjusted back to come in as originally budgeted. See the graphic directly from the PowerPoint presentation from the meeting. For example some items that can be scaled down to come in within budget: $99,554 for an ADA sidewalk originally costing $6,000? $81,210 for a parking lot originally budgeted at $58,000, $37,595 for a demo of the site? And an additional project manager to be paid $58,000! Who by the way has already been paid $18,000 for nothing if this project is cancelled. Why can’t our current Parks and Recs Manager manage this project under the salary we already pay them you ask? It may be a stipulation in the grant, but we are investigating further.
Star Valley’s Splash Pad was done for $80,000 and it did not take years to do. They have a dog park with grass, picnic tables and a playground in the same area. It’s very nice.
Towns throughout Arizona and the Country have built wonderful Splash Pads for way under $500,000 that are loved and greatly used by the citizens.
The idea that we will have a Splash Pad as part of the possible new aquatic center is great, although we have no plan, no location, no idea of how we are going to pay for it, but we can just quit the original plan and return our $250,000 grant to the state?
It would be a terrible thing to return the $250,000 grant that was allocated to the Town of Payson for our children to have this long awaited and desired Splash Pad.
The council has been promising a new pool since 2017, yet we are no closer today than we were then. We have had pool plans and studies done in the past that have gone nowhere.
The Splash Pad at the new aquatic center will be a different type of facility than this park-based free community Splash Pad. The Splash Pad at the aquatic center, if there ever is an aquatic center, will most likely be charging citizens admission to use these facilities.
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