State Senator Joe Uecker threw down the gauntlet for State Representative Terry Johnson and all the others in attendance at Wednesday’s groundbreaking for the future Scioto County Splash Park, to be located at Earl Thomas Conley Park in West Portsmouth.
“I want to put out this challenge publicly to meet back here at this time next July and to be able to see and celebrate all the families that are here,”Uecker said. “And who knows, Terry and I might get a little wet doing it.”
The Scioto County Commissioners were breathing a sigh of relief.
“We finally got all the red tape behind us and it’s going to happen pretty quick,” Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree said. “We’re getting the material ordered and it’s just a matter of time and they’ll start doing the underground work and I think that’s going to be done pretty quickly. The big part of it will be putting the concrete in and putting in the features. Too many times it seems like there is one hurdle after another when you go to do contracts.”
Crabtree said the project will most likely be done by Sept. 1.
“The only thing that held this up was the archaeological study,” Scioto County Commissioner Doug Coleman said. “I hate to say that but it held us up. They came down and did the work. It took them two days to do the work and it took us eight weeks to get the paperwork back.”
Crabtree said the first phase of the project is just the beginning.
“It will probably be over $400,000 for the feature itself and the splash park,” Crabtree said. “But we’re going to be adding some other things to it and some of it we have money to do. We have the restroom facility and it will be concessions and storage in the same building. That is something that will be a part of the whole sight but it will be a separate contract. Then there will be some other things and we’ve got some promises maybe from Pepsi that there will be a place for somebody to sit out of the sun while they’re watching their grandchildren. It will be bigger than the actual contract for the splash park but that part of it will be about $400,000.”
Coleman has a wish list of his own.
“I think we can make some more things happen down here,” Coleman said. “I’d like to have a water slide. That’s what I’m going to work on for my next project. I’m going to try to do it.”
Tim Knittel, park manager, said he is proud of the work that has been done on the site and looks forward to getting the project underway. Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis thanked those in attendance for their vision in bringing the project to fruition.
“We’re excited about what this is going to mean to the kids, families, our community,” Davis said. “The gateway to Shawnee Forest, hopefully that’s what we’re developing.”
The Commissioners thanked Johnson and Uecker for obtaining the funding for the first phase of the operation.
“It’s remarkable,” Johnson said. “Here we have an opportunity to do what everybody says we need to do – provide good clean fun for our kids. What’s this all about? A lot of people spend a lot of time talking, thinking and complaining. Here’s a project that these fellows have brought forward that’s actually going to accomplish what we’re all after, to give our kids something to do.”
Coleman said the county owns over 200 acres on the hill across the road from the park and the actual site being worked for the splash park is around 75-80 acres
“It won’t do the kids much good this year, but hopefully by spring, it will be ready to open on the first nice day,” Crabtree said.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.