Kids were elated Monday with the long anticipated opening of the Doug Coleman Memorial Splash Pad in West Portsmouth.
Commissioner Bryan Davis and wife Lori even brought their family to enjoy the day. Still wringing out, Bryan was drenched from standing under a favorite feature of the park, a giant red bucket that fills with water and dumps at the command of playful children. The pad runs on four minute cycles and stops at the end of each cycle to save water. In order to restart the cycle, kids must pull down a lever that not only restarts the loop but also soaks anyone under the bucket.
Bryan and Lori couldn’t have all the fun, bringing their boys Colten and Blake Chapman out to enjoy the memorial park.
Colten, 10, and Blake, 8, said they enjoyed squirting each other with water sprayers that can be aimed around the pad. The park has a variety of features that spray, shoot, squirt and dump water, offering a variety of fun for all.
“I think it’s a great thing,” Lori commented. “They’ve (the kids) been having a ball all day, enjoying the water, being carefree and enjoying the summer. It’s just been a great day.”
Bryan explained that Monday was a “soft start” in preparation what he expects to be a busy 4th of July. The pad opened at 11. Within hours, 72 visitors had come out to cool off.
“We are glad that this day has finally come,” Bryan stated. “We’re so excited for the kids. Yeah, we had to work through some difficulties, but we got through them, and everyone worked together. The staff worked well together. Tim and his crew (Solid Rock Construction, who aided in the project) did a great job. It’s open, and the kids are having fun. That’s what it’s all about.”
The pad will remain open with free admission through Sunday. Following Sunday, admission will be $2 for the entire day. Bryan explained that admission helps to cover costs of water, chemicals and general operations; however, after being open a while there will be a review to see if admission can be decreased or eliminated.
“No one wants to charge $2,” Bryan stated as he explained that the goal is for the pad to be for the children of Scioto County.
He added that there are many future plans for the splash pad, including hopes of being able to sell concessions by next summer.
The pad is will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and is located at Earl Thomas Conley Riverside Park, off US 52 in West Portsmouth.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.