by Dan Holland
If all goes as planned, the city of Independence will unveil its new splash pad alongside the outdoor pool at Elmwood Park on Memorial Day weekend. Construction is currently underway on the brand new 30- by-60-foot pad, which will feature ground sprays, water troughs, a large dumping bucket and other features, according to Recreation Director Tom Walchanowicz.
“We have a stingray that sprays water,” said Walchanowicz. “One reason we went with that was because the Independence outdoor youth swim team is named the Stingrays. We have a tipping barrel that dumps every so often, and the other feature is the pipe flow, which drops water into a trough, then another trough and so on. Kids like that because they can bring plastic floatie toys to play in that.”
Walchanowicz said his staff visited a number of splash pads around the area before deciding on which features to include.
“We wanted to see what kids were really into and what features were used the most,” he said. “Then we came up with a plan.”
Rain Drop Products of Ashland provided the water features and design, while Snider Recreation of North Royalton performed installation of the pad. City workers completed much of the surrounding site work, including installation of a concrete lounging deck around the pad, according to Walchanowicz. Contractor installation costs totaled $288,000.
One upgraded feature is a Life Floor slip-resistant flooring surface made up of square foam-rubber tiles.
“This way, if kids fall on them, there is some cushion,” said Walchanowicz. “Most splash pads are made with concrete, but we opted to spend the extra money to get that safety surface. It’s a newer product on the market, but it has received great reviews. We wanted to get the best product for our residents.”
Access to the splash pad will be through the main outdoor pool entrance. Residents will have to present a civic center or outdoor pool pass to enter. The splash pad area, which is rated to accommodate up to 90 children, will include secure perimeter fencing. This feature is fully ADA compliant.
“It’s another added feature to our outdoor pool, which is already a big hit with the residents,” Walchanowicz added. “Our pool was redone back in 2000, and we haven’t done many improvements to that area since that time. So, this is a nice modern amenity for that facility that we think will help increase our summer attendance. It’s still one of the bigger-sized outdoor pools in the area.” ∞