Spray parks open for fun times

Published 5:00 am Monday, May 11, 2009

Ten-year-old Tra Henderson wove in and out of the jetstreams ofwater in his wheelchair, able to play in the spray with the otherchildren because the new spray parks are not only good for coolingoff in the hot weather, but also accessible and safe for people ofall ages and abilities.

“It’s awesome!” Henderson said with great enthusiasm. “Becauseit sprays water everywhere!”

It was that very enthusiasm that had city officials, parents andother grown-ups grinning ear-to-ear as well as they watched thechildren run in and out of the spray Friday at the ribbon cuttingsfor the spray parks at City Park and Bicentennial Park.

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“The best part is the kids,” said Ward One Alderman DorseyCameron. “I’m just so happy to see them having so much fun, and I’mso glad the mayor and the board, that we were able to get thisaccomplished.”

The project has been one city leaders put heart and soul intobecause no grants were available to fund the project. They decidedto use city funds to build the parks.

“This is one of the better decisions we’ve made in a while,”said Recreation and Parks Department Committee member Robert Kenny.”This is a good use of taxpayer dollars and it’s good for the kids.I hope in the future we can come back and build more and add moreapparatuses.”

The parks will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the waterwill spray in 15-minute increments. The spray is activated by aswitch that works on a timer during the hours the parks areopen.

Both parks have four above-ground features, but there are 14heads that shoot water from the ground and the obstacles.

Mayor Bob Massengill said he’s glad to see the first two sprayparks in place. It’s not even just the satisfaction of seeing themup and running before he leaves office that makes him happy.

“Just hearing the kids laugh makes it all worthwhile,” he said.”It may not be overflowing today, but just think when people knowthey’re open, these parks will be busy all the time.”

Brookhaven Recreation Department Director Terry Reid agreed.

“This is just great,” he said. “I think once the word gets out,they’ll be covered up all the time.”