The taps are being turned on at Red Deer’s first spray park today and all are welcome to come splash around in the city’s latest Centennial Legacy Project.
The grand opening ceremony will get underway at 11 a.m. at the Blue Grass Sod Farms Central Spray and Play located in the northwest corner of Rotary Recreation Park at 47A Avenue and 48th Street. Lasting until 4 p.m., the ceremony will feature a free barbecue, entertainment, snacks and prizes.
The 7,500-square-foot space encompasses 35 spray toys and two dump buckets with an onsite washroom and picnic tables, public parking and bicycle racks nearby. It has been designed to include a representation of the meandering Red Deer River and a railway trestle to replicate the old CP Rail bridge.
The park also features a water reuse/filtration system, which the city says will mean the overall investment will be paid back in three years through realized savings in water consumption.
“This park’s a little different in the fact that we’re actually treating and recirculating the water. We chlorinate the water and recirculate it, so it’s a nice environmental feature,” explained project superintendent Jerry Hedlund.
The park got its moniker through a pilot project that saw the city seek expressions of interest for the title sponsorship of the $1.1-million spray park and the recently opened $1.4-million Glendale Skate Park.
While the latter opened without a title sponsor, Blue Grass Sod Farms was chosen as the winning bid for the water park.
“We did have other interested parties, but this was the best fit,” said Shelley Gagnon, the city’s Recreation, Parks and Culture Department manager, citing the business’s family-oriented philosophy.
Gagnon would not provide details on the terms of the sponsorship agreement, but said the business will have the opportunity to renew the relationship when it expires.
City council approved a new sponsorship policy earlier in 2013, with the pilot project done to see how the community would respond to the city’s efforts in seeking sponsorship.
“We have a ton of assets — building assets, program assets, special event assets — that council through the adoption of the policy has suggested that they are interested in looking at sponsorship as an alternative form of financial sustainability,” said Gagnon.
“We will take our findings and recommendations back to council later this fall in terms of how these pilot projects worked out and then from there, council will decide how they want to pursue sponsorship in the long run.”
Daily hours of operation at the spray park will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hedlund said the park’s closing date will be dependent on fall weather.