Pasco still trying to get out bid on new spray park

With the Kurtzman Park swimming pool closed a block away, Cynthia Sparks has an inflatable pool in her Pasco front yard so her grandchildren can keep cool this summer.

"You see a lot of those around here," said Sparks, 54.

Sparks was 5 when she first started using the Kurtzman pool.

As she grew older, she took her children, then grandchildren, there. But the pool is closed for the summer, and the city is working on replacing it with a spray park.

Sparks must put her four grandchildren on a bus when they want to swim in a larger pool. They ride to Pasco's only remaining city-owned pool at Memorial Park. Along with bus fare, she pays $3 for each of the kids to get in.

"That adds up when you're on a fixed income," she said.

The Kurtzman Park pool currently sits locked, with a bit of black water at the bottom. A sign tells visitors, "Closed for the season," in English and Spanish.

The neighboring park is largely empty during the heat of the summer. The kids who do come to cool off play in the irrigation sprinklers on the park's ball fields.

Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield said they will have to go without the spray park a bit longer. The city is still waiting on the state Department of Health to approve its plan, then the project will go out for bids.

Crutchfield still hopes to complete the spray park and get some use out of it this year.

"It might be open for a week the first of October," he said.

The city plans to demolish swimming pools at Kurtzman Park at South Wehe Avenue and East Alton Street and at Richardson Park on 19th Avenue between Richardson and Pearl streets. The city council decided that trying to fix the pools would be a "complete waste of money."

The city considered building a second spray park at Richardson Park in 2014, but decided it isn't a priority because it is relatively close to the remaining city pool at Memorial Park.

But next year, Crutchfield said, the Kurtzman spray park will be able to open sooner and stay open later in the year than a swimming pool could.

Sparks said she wants anything to open.

"I want them to open the pool, but I'll take what I can get," she said.

City Councilman Al Yenney, who represents the area around Kurtzman Park, said he wishes the spray park had opened in time for summer use.

"With 110 degree heat, it would have been nice to get it done for the kids," he said.

Crutchfield said the spray park will cost $200,000 to $250,000.