"We're hoping by this weekend," Basin Fieldhouse Recreation Manager Matt Strader said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We've never really had a target date just because with construction you never know."
The splash pad will provide children a new way to beat the heat during summer vacation. But with temperatures in the 80s, the facility remained closed this week as kids on the West Side of Summit County were out of school.
"We have just been testing it," Strader said. "The water has been going but it has never been open."
Construction began last spring on the splash pad, which is located outside the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse at Kimball Junction. But county officials are concerned about boulders stacked around the perimeter of the water park and have refused to allow the public to use the facility.
"When the building inspectors went out to do an inspection, there were some boulders that were located on the site that were not part of the approved site plan," Summit County Community Development Director Don Sargent said. "In addition to that, the boulders were of a jagged, rough texture, so a safety concern also became evident."
The splash pad is similar to the watery playground in Salt Lake City where children get sprayed down in the summer at the Gateway.
"We know, just by the nature of this kind of activity, where kids are going to be running and playing in the water, that kids have a tendency to want to climb on boulders and retaining walls and such. So we really make an effort to try to ensure that they are as safe as possible," Sargent said. "They inspect for health and safety and the inspectors are not comfortable with the safety factor of those rocks as they're constructed today."
According to Strader, the original plan did not include fencing, so boulders were used to create a barrier around the perimeter of the splash pad.
"We came up with the rock scenario so the kids didn't run into the street," Strader said. "The county had a few issues with the rocks and we are just working with them right now to mitigate those."
Removing the boulders could be costly depending on how the rocks were installed.
"If they're such that they can't be removed, then the idea is to take a tool to grind off the rough edges, smooth them off so it takes the unsafe element off the rocks," Sargent said.
Basin Recreation officials made a mistake by not complying with the approved site plan, he said.
"It was an honest assumption that this would work and achieve the purpose of creating a barrier between the splash pad and the street. The barrier will probably work but the texture and jaggedness of the rocks is the concern," Sargent said. "There are some different options and alternatives that we can consider as we try to resolve this situation."