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Water feature to close at month’s end

The summer days have been long and hot, but they’ve been morebearable for children who were able to go to the two spray parkscity leaders made it a point to put in for them this summer.

Now, as the hot weather winds to a close, recreation departmentofficials have said that the spray parks have been a wild success,and the moment they close on Sept. 30 will begin the countdownuntil next year, when they will open again.

“Lord, that was money well spent,” Brookhaven RecreationDepartment Director Terry Reid said. “They’ve been a real hit.”

The number of children who have come to the parks – one at CityPark and one at Bicentennial Park – through the summer is hard tokeep track of, Reid said, but it has definitely been a largenumber.

“There was no way to count them because they come and go, but itwas always covered up,” he said.

Reid said not only were the spray parks a solid investment and agood addition to the city’s recreational options, they were a greatasset to parents as well.

“I think it gave parents an outlet for their children to havesomething to do, and most of them were supervised,” he said. “Itwas real family fun.”

And there were only two basic complaints that he heard throughthe summer, Reid said. The first was that sometimes older childrenwouldn’t see younger children and there would be a collision.

“The only complaint I ever got was big kid-little kid, becausethe big kid hit the little kid, just horseplaying and ran intothem,” he said. “But we only got two or three of those.”

The second was that adults want somewhere to sit while theirchildren play. He said some local Boy Scouts have undertaken thejob of adding some benches and picnic tables as one of theirprojects. As the years pass and the economy gets better, Reid said,the spray parks will also upgrade.

“They’re going to be like everything else, it just takes time,”he said. “But they’ll get better year by year, and we’ll add thingsto them.”

Meanwhile, as school has started back and children are not asavailable to play on the playground because of classes andhomework, the recreation department’s board is making plans toclose up shop at the spray parks.

“There’s really very little activity anymore,” Reid said. “Butboy were they busy all summer.”

He said there is a procedure for protecting the pipes and themechanical fixtures against the cold in the winter, and that willbegin after the park is closed.

“We have to winterize them, put chemicals in all the pipes tokeep them from freezing,” Reid said. “There will also be heatlights in the green boxes to protect the computers against thecold.”