Updated:Pasco spray park to open sometime in May (w/video)

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldApril 29, 2014 

Cold water began gushing from nine-foot-high "flowers," water guns fired, and fountains shot water onto a 2,750-square-foot concrete splash pad Tuesday afternoon at Kurtzman Park in Pasco.

The only thing missing was the kids.

The new spray park, built on the site of a demolished swimming pool, will open sometime in May, said Rick Terway, the city's administrative and community services director.

The opening was originally scheduled May 1, but sod planted around the facility needs time to knit into the ground, Terway said.

"You have to let the roots go from the sod down into the dirt," he said. "Right now you can just lift it up. That would be a game for kids."

Workers had to plant sod instead of hydroseed because of a late winter, which led to some delays, Terway said. They also had problems connecting the spray park up to electricity.

Representatives from the city parks department and contractor Big D's Construction of Pasco watched a demonstration Tuesday at 331 S. Wehe Ave.

The system worked well, Terway said. Three buttons are located around the splash pad. Each time someone pushes the button, water will spray for six minutes from 21 spray toys, using about 70 gallons a minute.

"If some kid comes and pushes the button and goes home, it's only going to spray for six minutes," he said.

The spray park will remain surrounded by an orange construction fence until it opens. The city tentatively plans to keep the facility open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, but the city's parks advisory board will review rules at its Thursday meeting.

The spray park should be able to remain open for three-and-a-half months annually, compared with a little more than two months for the pools, Terway said.

The city council approved a $115,534 contract with Big D's in November. The company was responsible for putting in the splash pad and demolishing the swimming pool.

The city paid an additional $93,089 to buy spray park equipment from Vortex Aquatic Structures International of Quebec, Canada. The city can interchange the pool's toys with those at Memorial Park, the site of Pasco's only remaining city-owned swimming pool.

The city closed the pools at Kurtzman and Richardson parks in 2012 after determining that needed repairs would be too expensive.

City Councilman Al Yenney, whose east Pasco district includes Kurtzman Park, said he wishes the spray park could have opened sooner.

"I was actually thinking we should have had it open the last part of last year." he said.

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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