Photo by Aaron Ricca.
KINGMAN – Summer fun will soon be winding down, and so will the Splash Pad if people don’t take better care of it.
The City of Kingman Parks and Recreation Department has already had to repair minor damage to the attraction at Cecil Davis Park. No major acts of vandalism have been reported, but the public’s impatience is creating issues for the Splash Pad and Parks and Rec staff.
“They’re just not taking care of it.” said Recreation Superintendent Yvonne Cossio. “People have been hitting some of the fixtures with baseball bats or golf clubs or something.”
The fixtures she was referring to are the hand-pressed sensors that start the water cycle. The sensors are on poles just high enough in reaching distance for children, and the sensitivity level is so low people don’t even have to touch it to start the water.
Just like the signal buttons at pedestrian crossings, smashing or pounding the Splash Pad, anywhere, will not make the water flow any faster.
“Someone busted one (sensor) with a rock, water got in the sensor and rusted the battery to the control circuit overnight,” said Parks Superintendent Guy Reynolds.
Cossio said the Parks and Rec office gets a flood of calls every week, most of them regarding the pad’s 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. operation hours.
“One of the biggest complaints we get is, ‘Why are you only open until six?’” Cossio said.
Right now, maintenance is one of the biggest reasons. The pad’s pumps can only run for four hours straight without regular inspections by maintenance staff (who also take care of city pools). The last inspection is made at 2 p.m., making 6 p.m. the official closing time.
“The pad has been used extensively,” Reynolds said. “We’re working diligently to get it running longer in the evening.”
Safety is the main concern. The city will shut down the Splash Pad during thunderstorms. Power outages can affect how the pumps treat and circulate the water, leaving the possibility of harmful chemical imbalances.
“Our main concern is to keep it clean and safe for the public,” Reynolds said. “We’re learning and getting it dialed in.”
The Parks and Rec office also gets a ton of calls when the water doesn’t start flowing at 10 a.m. exactly. The pumps are activated by a timer similar to those of household lawn sprinklers.
“They’re pre-set from the factory for the operating hours,” Reynolds said. “We’re trying to get the programs to change the timing.”
There is no high-speed GPS satellite timing fixture, so what your smartphone reads might not be exact with the pump timer. Power outages can also mess with the timing.
“People are impatient,” Cossio said. “If it’s been 10 or 15 minutes, then call us.”
This is the first year of operation for the Splash Pad, so the kinks – both of Splash Pad mechanics and public behavioral guidelines – are still being worked out.
“We haven’t even thought of all the disclaimers we need to write,” said Ryan Fruhwirth, recreation coordinator, of the rules that will have to be reiterated in the future.
One of those rules, like at all city parks, is no dogs allowed.
The water is recirculated throughout the day, and any dog waste or fur will further contaminate the water.
For safety reasons, bikes and skateboards are also prohibited.
Water balloons are also a huge problem. The rubber gets washed down the drain and can damage the pumps, so keep the water wars on the grass.
Above all else, keep an eye on the Splash Pad.
“This is a neighborhood watch effort,” Cossio said. “We have to patrol it and keep it clean.”
If you see anyone damaging or vandalizing the Splash Pad, contact Kingman Police Department at 928-753-2191.