Planned spray parks in Pasco unlikely to open soon

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldApril 22, 2013 

A planned spray park for Kurtzman Park in Pasco isn't likely to open this summer, while the city might not open a second spray park at Richardson Park at all.

At Monday's Pasco City Council meeting, City Manager Gary Crutchfield said Richardson is close enough to Memorial Park, where Pasco's only remaining city pool is located, that building a spray park there isn't a priority.

The planning, approval, bid and construction process for Kurtzman likely won't be completed until at least September, Crutchfield said.

Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Francik said spray parks have an advantage over pools in that they can be opened earlier in the season and stay open later. She called the park that Kennewick built near the library on Union Street, which had good places for adults to sit, as a good one to emulate.

Crutchfield said the only option for keeping the pools open is to replace them, which would cost the city between $1 million and $1.5 million each.

Councilman Al Yenney said he long advocated for keeping the pools open, but, ultimately, they were sunk by poor engineering designs made during renovations in the 1980s and they would cost too much to repair.

The three spray park plans shown to the council Monday ranged in up-front costs between $218,375 and $274,804, with yearly water and sewer costs between $9,499 and $19,508.

Those prices include the cost for perc tanks, which can add between $58,500 and $127,500 to the cost of the project. The tanks, which act like septic tanks, are designed to save the city money in the long run versus connecting into the sewer system.

But Yenney said the tanks are not worth the cost.

"I think it might be better to put it in the sewer," he said.

Demolishing the two pools is expected to cost $60,000.

While there aren't immediate plans to build a spray park after Kurtzman is finished, Crutchfield said the facility can act as a template for parks when it is more feasible. While the city doesn't plan to charge to use the spray parks, he said that could change.

Crutchfield said the decision to close the swimming pools and build a spray park has nothing to do with a ballot proposal to build a regional aquatic center. He said the pools need to be closed whether or not residents of the Tri-Cities Regional Public Facilities District approve a one-tenth of a percent sales tax that would fund an aquatic facility, tentatively planned along Road 100 in Pasco, when voters go to the polls in August.

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