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Williamsport splash pads explored for recreation

The city of Williamsport administration said it is exploring splash pads, accessible and designed play areas for children to cool off in summer without having to go to the swimming pool.

The splash pad locations, ideally, could be connected to existing water line services, according to city officials.

“Our Department of Public Works identified and fixed a number of leaks at Memorial Pool,” Mayor Derek Slaughter said.

“Currently, the pool membrane is out to bid as well. This membrane will save taxpayers money in the future related to painting, cleaning and other associated maintenance costs,” he said.

“Furthermore, I am exploring other recreational opportunities including splash parks, a pump track (bike park) and many other improvements to our city parks,” he said.

Jon Sander, city engineer, said he had scheduled a meeting with a company called Water Play International this week.

Parks where the pads would go would need to be determined by city administration and City Council, he said.

Some parks suggested included Newberry, Shaw Place, Brandon and Lose. The city is looking closer at Newberry and Shaw Place, Sander said.

The cost of the pads might be able to be covered by a portion of the city’s $25.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Earlier, Slaughter noted splash pads avoid the expense of multiple life guards, and more elaborate spray parks can cost up to $750,000.

“For the splash pads, I am excited about those,” said Councilwoman Bonnie Katz, chair of the public works committee.

“This gives our kids an option when they don’t have money for the pool,” Katz said.

“Plus, this is so good for accessibility, and with our hot summers, it will be refreshing for all ages,” she said.

Memorial Park pool, which has been closed for the past two years — one year due to the pandemic and this year for leaks identified and recently repaired — is scheduled to be reopened next year.

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