By Wayne Allen
For months, the Scioto County Commissioners have been anticipating building a water splash park at River Side Park in West Portsmouth. As the project has progressed, preliminary designs have been completed of what the park may look like. The commissioners have released those designs to the Daily Times.
When the state of Ohio approved a capital budget in 2014, included was $250,000 for a campground project at Earl Thomas Conley Park. The campground project was put on hold, for the development of a water splash park. To get the project changed from a campground to a water park, the commissioners had to lobby State Representative Dr. Terry Johnson to introduce an amendment to change project scope. The amendment was successfully introduced and was included in a budget bill passed by the Ohio Legislature earlier this year.
The state funding will flow through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), which is anticipated to approve park plans and make a request to the state Controlling Board for the use of those funds. It’s estimated the entire project will cost an estimated $450,000, with no indication where the additional $200,000 would come from.
The preliminary designs including the construction of a building that’s anticipated to include two restrooms, a mechanical room and a storage area. The preliminary designs also include an underground water storage tank. Also included in the designs is a six-foot chain link fence that would surround the park, allowing for the park to be closed when not in use or in cold weather. Included in the preliminary designs are several amenities aimed at a younger audience.
Scioto County Commissioner Doug Coleman said Earl Thomas Conley Park is popular, with some its shelter houses booked months in advance. He said the water splash park would only complement the popularity of the park.
“We think this will be used by a lot of kids and will bring a lot more people to the park,” Coleman said.
He said a number of community pools have closed in recent years and the water splash park would be a positive thing for Scioto County.
Coleman was not optimistic about having the water splash park installed and operational this summer. He said work may begin on installing the park and restrooms this year, but it’s not likely it would be operational until Spring or Summer of 2016.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT