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Splash! City opens first splash pad

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Scarlet Simpson, 9, (left) and Jolee Leighton, 8, react as they're splashed by water during the opening day of Elizabeth City's new splash pad at Enfield Park, Thursday.

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By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Friday, June 16, 2017

It’s important that all new city water infrastructure gets rigorously tested.

And so kids splashed up a storm at Elizabeth City’s new Enfield Splash Pad on Thursday.

“I like it!” said a soaked Scarlet Simpson, age 9, as she and other kids ran through water jets and other water features.

The new splash pad will be open daily throughout the summer at Enfield Park, according to city staff. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. all other days of the week. Hours will be scaled back once school starts, they added.

The new pad has been “a long time coming,” Mayor Joe Peel said in a short ceremony marking the pad’s completion.

The pad only took about eight weeks to build, Peel said, but the city’s been deliberating about it for years. He noted the late Mayor Roger McLean was a major advocate for the splash pad.

City Councilor Michael Brooks in fact asked City Council earlier this month to consider naming the pad after McLean. Peel suggested councilors discuss the request at next month’s council meeting.

On hand for the splash pad’s debut Thursday was Elaine McLean, McLean’s daughter and mother of five. She praised the pad as good for kids and said it was in a “wonderful location.” She also said it was exciting that the council was open to naming it after her father.

Peel also said Thursday he hoped to see more splash pads built across the city.

Getting this first splash pad built has taken so long because it was expensive. Just prior to Thursday’s ceremony, City Manager Rich Olson said it’s cost the city about $210,000. That’s because the city purchased the splash pad property from the Elizabeth City Boys & Girls Club for $60,000. The city worked out a deal for the former baseball field in February, and the splash pad only takes up part of the 1.8-acre property available for further park development.

Building the park itself also cost more than the roughly $135,000 originally budgeted, Olson said, citing additional costs like laying down sod around the concrete pad. Olson also noted the city has considered building a restroom facility on the site, but it would cost around $150,000.

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