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Officials plan Sept. spray park completion

With the dog days of summer cranking the heat up into the tripledigits, officials say things are still on track to have localchildren cooling their heels in two new much-acclaimed spray parksby sometime shortly after Labor Day.

Brookhaven Recreation Department Director Terry Reid said twomanufacturers were supposed to have park specifications in as oflast week. Once those numbers are in, it will speed the processalong, he said.

“Basically waiting on those, then we’ll sit down and pick one,then we’ll put it in to bid next week,” he said. “Then they saywithin a month it will be in.”

Dungan Engineering’s Ryan Holmes said plans are to beginadvertising for bids this week, and that things should hopefullyflow smoothly from there.

“We’ve been designing and working with manufacturers and TerryReid at the recreation department to develop a site plan andfeatures,” he said. “We have run into a few snags that have slowedus down a little, but I hope once construction is begun to movevery swiftly.”

Mayor Bob Massengill said the spray parks, the first two ofwhich will be put in at Bicentennial Park and City Park, have beenan important project to the city board of aldermen. At one pointcity officials had hoped to receive a 50 percent matching grantfrom the Pearl River Basin Development District to fund theproject, but were told the funds were unavailable for the year.

“It’s a real priority to the board and we’re excited to havethis project under way,” he said. “We wish we’d had it earlier inthe year. But we were hopeful of getting grant funds, and as soonas we found we weren’t, the board approved funding it through thecity unanimously.”

Massengill had given the board a timeline on a project extendingfrom May 25 to Sept. 7 to begin work on the two spray parks, andsaid the city would look toward putting the third spray park inBethel Park next year.

Currently, there is a playground construction project under wayfor this year at Bethel Park. If all goes according to plan and thebudget allows, officials said the spray park and the playgroundthere will both be complete by next year.

Reid said the parks will be both have five features each, withconstruction crews building them so it will be easy to add on iffurther grants are received in the future. He said the parks willalso be constructed so that the switches to turn on the water onlywork during certain hours in order to keep people out of the sprayparks at night.

“It’ll be set on a timer, where you activate it and it’ll runfor however many minutes we decide on,” Reid said. “It will also beon a timer so the activator won’t come on until a certain time inthe morning. Then it’ll go off pre-dusk, so nobody will be thereafter hours. You don’t want people just hitting it for fun, andthis will alleviate stuff like that.”

The deepest point in the spray parks will be two and a halfinches deep, so there will be no need for lifeguards. The parkswill also run off city water.

Holmes said crews should be in construction on both spray parksat once, so they should both be completed almostsimultaneously.

“They’ll work on them most likely both on the same time, and dothe same work at the same time on both parks,” he said. “So theywon’t begin one and wait to do the other. They should have close tothe same completion date.”

Holmes said Dungan has been pleased to be able to work with thecity so far on the spray park projects, and that they hope to beincluded in any future plans for additional spray parks.

“We’d be happy to be involved with this if they want us to, andwe’ve talked about trying to get a grant for next year becausethere are some grants out there that you can use to fund projectslike this,” he said.