Soon just about everybody in The Dalles will have a chance to make a splash, young, old, mobile and less so.
Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation District received word last week that it has won a $99,305 Oregon State Parks grant to build a splash pad at Thompson Park, said Scott Green, executive director of the parks district.
“We’re liable for matching that 40 percent; however, that’s not strictly just funds,” Green said. “It could be volunteer labor, donations, equipment — we can match it in so many different ways, it doesn’t all have to be cash.”
Splash pads are popping up all over the country. They are an area for water play, but without standing water. “This is said to eliminate the need for lifeguards or other supervision, as there is little risk of drowning,” according to a Wikipedia article.
Typically they include ground nozzles that spray upward from a “rain deck,” as well as hanging buckets that fill and pour, semicircular pipe showers, and other water features.
“They are a place to cool off for any age, toddler to older adults,” Green said. “It’s something we can activate during warm weather time whether the pool is open or not.”
Green estimates the splash pad will be between 1,800 and 2,000 square feet.
“It should hold 40 to 50 people at one time,” he said.
It will also be on a separate, recirculating water system, allowing the splash pad to be turned on only when people are present.
The project is moving forward separately from a bond measure planned for the Nov. 5 election in which the parks district will ask for $3.7 million to replace the existing pool and related facilities.
The district is proposing to replace the existing 50-meter pool where it sits with one extra lane, so it qualifies to hold regional meets, Green said. The bathhouse would also be replaced — including showers, concessions and a place for lifeguards —and the park district office would be moved to that location so that district staff can supervise the skate park and pool.
“It’s basically what we have now, only newer,” Green said.
Whether voters approve that bond issue or not, the splash pad will move forward, Green noted. He expects details of the grant to be finalized in the next couple of months. The district will also move forward with the bidding process for splash pad design.