You don’t have to go to California to see splash brothers. In Grand Island, we have splash brothers and sisters, and kids who don’t even know each other.
Many young people are frolicking in the new splash pad at the Veterans Athletic Complex at 2820 N. Broadwell.
On Saturday afternoon, kids were getting wet and wild at the splash pad, which opened about a month ago. Some of the kids taking an outdoor shower were attending a birthday party.
Parks and Recreation Director Todd McCoy says the pad has been well-received.
“We’ve gotten a lot of great comments,” he said.
It’s also seen a lot of use.
“Every time I’m out there, there’s people using it,” McCoy said. “So yeah, I think the only regret is that we didn’t make it bigger.”
The splash pad, Grand Island’s first, was added as part of the expansion of the Veterans Athletic Complex. The expansion added six youth baseball/softball fields to the four that were already there.
Softball games drew many people to the complex Saturday. The splash pad was built partly with those people in mind.
“Yes, that was a big part of the planning process. There’s a lot of down time for families when they’re in town for ballgames,” McCoy said. Young people can use that down time to get wet.
Many kids can use the pad at one time. Instead of one nozzle, water shoots out of more than 20 of them. To get wet, kids can run through and around a variety of colorful stations.
Use of the pad is free. The water doesn’t run continuously. Kids push a button to start the water. The pad is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
There are no age restrictions, but “it seems like the younger children are the ones who enjoy it the most,” McCoy said.
Parks and Recreation created a park space as part of the expansion, McCoy said. “We have room for a future playground that we want to put in there at some time in the future.”
Already, the four picnic shelters make it a family-friendly area. In addition, a walking path connects to Eagle Scout Park.
Parks and Rec doesn’t know how long the splash pad will stay open this year.
“We’re still evaluating that. It’ll for sure be open through Labor Day,” McCoy said. It might stay open beyond Labor Day. But it will close during the winter months.
Splash pads, which are a trend in water recreation, are found in many communities.
The folks at Parks and Recreation are already thinking about a second pad. One possibility is replacing the wading pool at Stolley Park.
“It’s got some age on it,” he said. Keeping that pool going requires a lot of maintenance. So replacing the pool with a pad is an option in the future, he said.
Developers of the Prairie Commons area, a private development, are also thinking about adding a splash pad to that complex.