PALESTINE — Construction will start in a few weeks on a “very unique” spray ground in Reagan Park, which Palestine city officials say will be the first of what they hope will be several more at city parks.
Unlike most spray grounds built on one pad, the spray ground in Reagan Park will consist of two separate splash pads.
“A lot of spray grounds are built on one solid splash pad. … I’ve not seen anyone separate their pads,” Ray Crouch, community services director for the city of Palestine, said.
“Some spray grounds are larger in square footage, but ours is going to be unique …” Crouch said.
Each splash pad in Reagan Park will be about 1,200 square feet, for a total 2,400 square feet. At the edge of each splash pad will be benches on concrete pads for parents, grandparents and others to sit and watch children play. Eventually a canopy will be placed over each sitting area, Crouch said.
One pad will likely appeal to children 2 to 3 years old and the other to children up to 12 years old, Crouch said. He added that children will be able to cross between the two pads.
“There will be no restriction on which pad they play in, but I think the play elements will separate the kids automatically,” Crouch said.
Bigger kids will want the excitement of one pad and small children will prefer the other pad, he added.
The spray ground will be located on the west side of the park’s bandstand. An old wading pool has been removed.
“We will try to make it a railroad theme splash park,” Crouch said. It will be equipped with tumble buckets, a spay train and geysers, a spill tower, water wickets, custom railroad crossing sign, spray rings and other water ground features.
The custom-built toy features, which have been under construction for about 1 1/2 months, are expected to be ready by mid-July. The city anticipates that plumbing, sidewalks and supporting infrastructure will take a few days to complete.
“This will be a fun place for kids to come and hang out to have a good time and play and get wet,” Crouch said.
”It’s going to be an exciting project. I’m excited for the kids because they don’t know what’s coming and we do. We know they are going to have a good time with this. The kids are going to have fun and an awesome time. … I think it’s going to really improve the quality of life in Palestine.”
The spray ground will increase usage of the already heavily used Reagan Park, Crouch predicted.
Total cost of the project is $354,810. A breakdown of funding sources shows a $75,000 grant from the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife; $126,810 from the city of Palestine; and $153,000 from the Palestine Junior Service League.
“I can’t say enough about the Junior Service League and how much fundraising it has done for Reagan Park in the last two or three years. The ladies spent a lot of time doing fundraising projects,” Crouch said.
The spray ground is another phase in a master plan developed for Reagan Park in 2009. Phase 1 consisted of a $150,000 play ground that the junior league also helped fund and community members installed.
The league has come back to the table to help make possible the spray ground, Crouch said. “It has done a great job of fundraising again,” he said.