Park City could build a heat-beating ‘spray ground’ | ParkRecord.com

Park City could build a heat-beating ‘spray ground’

Ronan Terry plays with the streams of water at the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse's splash pad in June of 2017. The splash pad is popular, drawing upward of 20,000 people in 2017. Park City recreation officials are considering whether to build a splash pad somewhere within the city limits.

Park City could someday offer another place to cool down during the summer.

Officials are considering whether the municipal government should build a splash pad where people could frolic in the water, something that would complement the pools at the Park City Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center in Park Meadows.

The discussions are in the early stages, and it is not clear whether a splash pad will eventually be pursued. A location is also unclear even though officials say there are several possibilities.

The Recreation Advisory Board, a municipal panel that is influential as City Hall considers facilities and programs, recently outlined a series of potential improvements, including a splash pad or what officials call a "spray ground." Splash pads or spray grounds typically offer a respite from the heat with water shooting into the air as people frolic about.

…Having free access to water play is a way to address individuals & families who are unable to afford entrance fees or feel comfortable at a public pool,”Park City report about potential splash pad

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Ken Fisher, the recreation services manager at City Hall, said there is a series of locations that could be explored. A preferred spot has not been identified so early in the discussions. Fisher said possibilities include City Park, Prospector Park, the Park City Sports Complex at Quinn's Junction and the back of the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center.

The only public pools inside Park City are located at the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center. One is a lap pool while the other is a leisure pool. Someone must pay to use them. Fisher said a splash pad or a spray grounds are not as expensive as a pool to operate since, as an example, lifeguards are not required. Developing a splash pad or a spray ground would also be expected to cost far less than building another pool.

In a report drafted in anticipation of a recent Park City Council meeting, Fisher and Tate Shaw, who is the assistant recreation manager, argued a splash pad or spray ground could advance City Hall's social equity efforts. The report says "having free access to water play is a way to address individuals & families who are unable to afford entrance fees or feel comfortable at a public pool."

The Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District, which manages facilities outside the Park City limits, offers a splash pad at the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse close to Kimball Junction. Brian Hanton, the district director, said the splash pad is popular, drawing approximately 20,000 people in 2017. He said there is a consistent flow of youngsters "running in and out of there." The splash pad covers approximately 3,500 square feet and dates to 2009, according to the recreation district.

The recent meeting was designed as an opportunity for the elected officials to discuss a work plan with the Recreation Advisory Board covering the upcoming year. Some topics might return to the City Council, but others could be pursued by the Recreation Advisory Board and staffers.

Other issues broached in the report include:

• the possibility of City Hall providing WiFi service for free at City Park. The report indicates there is free WiFi available at public facilities like the Park City Library, the Park City Ice Arena and the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center. There is not free service in any of the municipal parks, the report says.

"If free WiFi is to be offered in parks, City Park is a logical starting point," it says.

The report notes a recent article about WiFi in a magazine designed for people in the recreation industry, saying the article describes free access to the internet as "being a public utility, like electricity, roads and clean water."

"The idea is that since parks are free & not subject to operating hours that they are a great way to bridge the digital divide," the report says.

• the possibility of installing lights on the volleyball courts located on the north end of City Park. Summertime sand volleyball has increased in popularity, with 22 teams playing in leagues, the report says. Further expansion, though, relies on lights, according to the report. The report argues installing lights would not add to the impact of City Park on the neighborhood.

"Currently we have lights on the basketball & volleyball courts by the rec building, lights (on the) playing field and the three tennis courts," the report says. "Adding lights to the volleyball courts on the north-end would not be an impact to the surrounding area."

The report also mentions the possibility of using environmentally friendlier light bulbs.