Fort Smith parks panel plans new splash pads – News – Times Record – Arkansas News

Fort Smith parks panel plans new splash pads – News – Times Record – Arkansas News

The Fort Smith Parks and Recreation Department plans to convert the wading pools at two of the city’s parks to splash pads by next summer, the department’s deputy director said.

The conversion is a cost-saving measure, Deputy Director Sara Deuster said Wednesday at a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. The wading pools at Tilles Park and Woodlawn Park require a lifeguard, costing $12,000 a year.

“After we presented that, we had a little push back from citizens, and I actually think it was a good thing because it made us focus on, ‘What do those amenities provide?’ and it’s a service for the children,” Deuster said.

The staff went to the four elementary schools closest to the parks, Tilles, Pike, Trusty and Howard, and some of the nearby day cares and let the children vote on whether they would rather have splash pads or wading pools.

About 70 percent of the kids voted for splash pads with 447 votes for wading pools and 1,078 votes for splash pads.

The plan is to start construction early next year so the new splash pads will be open by the summer, Deuster said.

The staff plans to go back to the schools and day cares and let the kids vote on some of the features they would like to see at the splash pads, she said.

“Ultimately, it’s what the kids want and not what we want,” Deuster said.

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