Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 10, 2012

Efforts underway to bring splash pad Kiwanis Park

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Athens Kiwanis Club got a report Tuesday on the efforts underway to bring a splash pad to Kiwanis Park.

Athens Chamber of Commerce President Sarah Heuber said the Athens Leadership Institute decided this year on the pad as a class project that would promote community visibility, community involvement and interest businesses considering a move to the area.

“Which is what led to a project that we found the Athens Kiwanis Club had been working on for many years, and that was to bring a splash pad to Athens,” Heuber said.

ALI and Kiwanis are now partnering to build the pad. ALI alumni Kim Hodges said she is excited to see a project like the splash pad come to the city. It’s especially interesting to Hodges, because it’s a place that can be enjoyed by her young grandchildren.

“The number-one priority in our lives right now is watching them have happy times,” Hodges said.

Hodges commented that she was recently asked by her sister, who now lives in Indiana, what was being done in Kiwanis Park, and “please don’t touch the rocket.”

A large metal rocket at the park has been a favorite for kids to play on for decades.

Hodges said the splash pad will fill the void left with the removal of another longtime park attraction, the swimming pool.

Advantages of the splash pad over the now-defunct pool are that the water is only about an inch deep, removing the risk of drowning, and it can be used for all ages.

“It’s perfect for children with disabilities, especially those that are in wheelchairs.” Hodges said. “They’re also great for children with autism and other disabilities, because the water is a therapy in itself.”

The ALI team has formed teams for pre-discovery, compliance, a marketing team and planning to see the project through each of its phases. They began calling other cities about six weeks ago, asking questions about their splash-pad projects.

“We found out that they were so much cheaper than a swimming pool. Mothers like them because they don’t have to worry about their children drowning, and there’s little or no maintenance involved,” Hodges said.

Organizers hope to get the community involved in raising the money to build the splash pad. Sponsorships for bricks are available, beginning with the $100 to $249 range.

There are also sponsorships available for benches to be located in the pad area.