Aldermen OK spray parks to help children keep cool

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Brookhaven children will have a cool place to play by the end ofsummer, thanks to a unanimous vote by aldermen Tuesday to allowcity funds to be used to finance the building of two sprayparks.

Mayor Bob Massengill, who gave the board a timeline on a projectextending from May 25 to Sept. 7 to begin work on a spray park inBicentennial Park and one in City Park, said the city would looktoward putting the third spray park in Bethel Park next year.Currently, there is a playground construction project under way forthis year at Bethel Park.

After the board’s vote to move forward, Massengill said therecreation department will be urged to proceed immediately with theplans.

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“We’ll ask them to make it a priority and get started,” themayor said. “By Labor Day we could have these up and going. We allknow how hot it is here in September, so we could use it then andhave it for next year.”

Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron and Ward Four AlderwomanShirley Estes both said they had seen successful spray parks inother cities. Massengill referred to the trip city officials tookto McComb to see how spray parks worked there.

“I know you’re all excited about this project, because you’veall said that in the past,” he said.

While grant funds for spray parks are not available for thisyear, Massengill told the board he thinks applying city funding tothe project is a good idea.

“I feel we need to offer this activity to our kids more than weneed grant funds,” he said.

The city has $200,000 that can be transferred to the recreationdepartment budget.

The budgeted money will not cover the entire cost of theproject, but Massengill said the city would supplement it withadditional funds needed to finish out the spray parks.