Grant would partially fund splash pad

Published 9:45 pm Thursday, August 18, 2011

The town of Thorsby has scheduled a public hearing to discuss the pre-application of a grant for the construction of a splash pad in Richard Wood Park.

A “splash pad” consists of sprinklers and spray heads that are activated by touch, and a non-skid surface that does not retain water. The recreational facility would take up no more than a 30-by-30-foot area, Mayor Dearl Hilyer estimated.

“This is what most municipalities are going to in lieu of swimming pools,” Hilyer said. “It would be something good for the summer when it’s hot for kids to have a way to cool down.”

Hilyer said a facility in Atlanta caught his attention, although Thorsby’s version would be much smaller. He showed a picture of a small splash pad at Monday night’s council meeting.

Some council members were concerned about the usage of water, and Hilyer explained that the pad could utilize a recirculation system with a filter.

“Or, the water would just drain down and be sent to wastewater,” he said.

A Land and Water Conservation Fund grant would fund 50 percent of the cost through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). Thorsby’s portion could be in the form of monetary funds, in-kind or a combination of the two.

“We’re going to make an effort to raise the matching funds through private donations,” Hilyer said.

If awarded, the grant would commit a portion of Richard Wood Park to future land and water usage. In other words, that portion of the park would always remain a park.

A public hearing will be held Thursday, Aug. 25 at the Thorsby High School auditorium at 6:30 p.m. The hearing is being held in conjunction with a school Parent Involvement Team meeting.

“We need lots of public support with parents and kids to attend to help us in gaining the grant,” Hilyer said.