Spray parks may see use this year

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 11, 2008

It’s possibly only a matter of a little over a month before thefirst two spray parks are in place and working, city officialssaid.

Brookhaven Recreation Department Director Terry Reid told theBrookhaven Board of Aldermen briefly at their called meetingTuesday that the project is about to get under way. From there,it’s only about five weeks until the construction is finished.

The spray parks, the first two of which will be put in atBicentennial Park and City Park, have been a priority project tothe board, with the city setting aside $200,000 to get them startedearlier this year.

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Officials have said the city will look toward putting the thirdspray park in Bethel Park, which is currently in constructionplans. If all goes according to plan and the budget allows,officials said the spray park and the playground there will both becomplete by next year.

Reid said Wednesday that he and other project officials had meton Tuesday and finished the paperwork, as well as doing the siteinspection.

“Now we just have to order the parts, and once we get started,we’ll be done within five weeks, toward the end of October.”

Reid said officials wish the parks could have been completed bythe originally forecast date of Sept. 7, but that there may stillbe some time for community children to enjoy the fun before theweather turns cold.

“If the weather’s permissible, we’d like to keep them open acouple of weeks to make sure it’s functioning, so we’ll keep themrunning as long as weather permits,” Reid said, adding that thestructures will be winterized to protect them through the coldwinter months.

Both spray parks that are being put in this year will be around2,000 square feet, Reid said, and contain four above-groundfeatures and nine underground features. The deepest point in thespray parks will be two and a half inches deep, so there will be noneed for lifeguards. The parks will also run off city water.

Reid said while there isn’t really an exact way to estimate howmuch water the parks will use, that experts had told city officialsthat even if the water was run every day for the maximum amount oftime, it is still more economical than recycling and sanitizing thewater.

“It would still take us 15-20 years to recoup the costs ofrecirculating the water,” Reid said. “It’s way cheaper to just dumpthe water. That’s 15 years to recoup your investment versus themuch smaller cost of just running the water.”

The contract on the parks was awarded to J.A. Dawson & Co.,a company out of Pelham, Ala., that specializes in playgrounds andparks.

“They just finished the big one in Brandon that they’re chargingpeople to go in, as well as the one in Meridian,” Reid said.”They’re big time, and they build all over the country. Plus, theywere also $50,000 cheaper than next-closest bid.”

Reid said J.A. Dawson’s bid was $171,385 for both parks, whilethe next closest bid was from Tupelo company Stewart EnvironmentalConstruction for $220,093. He said the company can afford to chargeless than other contractors because all they do is playgrounds.

“They’ve got it down to a science, they come in and know whatthey’re doing,” he said.

Reid said construction crews will build the parks so it will beeasy to add on if further grants are received in the future. Hesaid the parks will also be constructed so that the switches toturn on the water only work during certain hours in order to keeppeople out of the spray parks at night.

Reid said very little water work is left to be done on the siteswhere the parks will go. He said at Bicentennial Park, the road hasbeen bored, so all that needs to be done is to run the pipe. Thetap has been done in both places, and the discharge points havebeen established, he said.

“They’re already close enough that we’ve got them ready to goonce the parts come in,” Reid said.