Norwalk Reflector: Splash pad expected to reach preschoolers through 'tweens'

Splash pad expected to reach preschoolers through 'tweens'

Cary Ashby • Jun 12, 2017 at 9:37 PM

Fountains, geysers and buckets — oh my!

Ernsthausen Community Center plans to install the new splash pad in September or October.

Tonight Norwalk city council will discuss two resolutions about funding the $250,000 project during its work session. Joe Lindenberger, superintendent of parks and recreation, said the city has received $50,000 from Help Me Grow that will go toward the remaining $200,000 from a Senate Bill 310 grant.

“It’s a community economic development grant,” he added. “The good part is there is no match (from the city).”

A city crew performed utility work in May. 

“We are basically standing idle until the fall,” Lindenberger said. “We decided not to rush it. Do it right; don’t rush.”

The 40-foot by 80-foot splash pad will be east of the outside pool.

“That’s probably average size,” Lindenberger said. “It’s 20 feet to the east of the zero-depth entry.”

The city general services department will do some excavation work. Lindenberger said a contractor will install the plumbing, water recirculation system and “all the play features.”

“All of that is under bid,” he added, referring to the $250,000 price tag.

The vision for a splash pad at Ernsthausen Community Center started more than a decade ago.

“Ken Leber started that about 12 years ago when he was superintendent. He wanted to build an indoor splash pad,” he said.

Lindenberger is hopeful for a similar project in a couple years, depending on funding.

“It’s something we can look into. We’re going to walk before we run,” he added. 

Lindenberger and recreation director Niki Cross expect the splash pad to get a lot of use, draw more residents to Ernsthausen and reach a larger population.

“It appeals to so many age groups,” Cross said. “Our primary goal is to reach toddlers (and) preschoolers. It’s all the way up through tweens. … This reaches a whole new group of kids.”

Toddlers are restricted to the shallow end of the pool and “the step area of the therapy pool,” she added.

The nearest lifeguard is stationed about 20 feet away from the splash pad. There will be space for parents and guardians to sunbathe and watch children play.

“A splash pad is similar to a public playground. … It is built like a public playground,” Lindenberger said.

The recreation area uses recirculated water.

“It’s treated pool water. It goes through a filtration system,” Lindenberger said.

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