Our View: Splash pad needs more planning

Investing in quality-of-life amenities is one of the best ways to make our community more family friendly and appealing to those thinking about calling Winchester home.

A splash pad would be a great step in the right direction.

The water-incorporated playgrounds are popular summer attractions in many communities. The city has considered this option for years after the Eugene Gay public pool was closed, but lack of funding and high cost projections have kept it grounded.

Now, city recreation officials have proposed a plan to build the facility within the $250,000 budget the city has set aside.

To be built on C.G. Stephenson Drive where the pool was located, the pad would be about 45 feet in diameter with a number of features and could be expanded later.

The plan isn’t without its flaws though.

This proposal doesn’t include additional parking and, perhaps even more importantly, restroom facilities. Although restrooms could be added later for an additional $150,000, creating a family attraction for small children without facilities is sure to create problems.

This newest version also scrapped the important — but very expensive — recirculating water system. This design will likely use far more water and could create an added burden for the city’s finances.

City leaders did not vote on the proposal and have requested a detailed analysis of water use and operational costs associated with the splash pad. This data will be critical in making an informed decision.

We agree this project would be a great addition for the city but need to ensure the entire scope is achievable in order to get the complete facilities we need. Clearly defining the phases and determining the costs will be a critical step toward success.

Hopefully the city is willing to make a commitment to future phases.

Now is also the time for supporters to continue fundraising efforts to get outside support and grant dollars, if possible.

Offering recreational opportunities for our families is important and we are excited to see this project moving forward. If our community can overcome a few more hurdles, our youth will soon be splashing away the summer.