By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Thanks in part to a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant, the City of Glencoe is planning to build a splash pad in Wilson Park so that local children will have something cool to do on hot summer days.
Glencoe Mayor Charles “Peanut” Gilchrist said he’s not sure when the splash pad can be completed. City leaders will try to have it ready by spring, but as the mayor noted, when dealing with grants, it’s sometimes hard to know when the money will be available to begin work.
The grant is for $50,000, according to a State of Alabama press release, and Glencoe has committed $50,000 in matching funds toward the project’s completion.
Gilchrist said he expects the project will cost at least $100,000.
“I want it to be something the kids can enjoy, maybe with some water cannons,” he said – not just sprinklers for kids to run through.”
The City of Glencoe had to close its pool last year, Gilchrist said, because it faced costly changes to make the pool accessible to the handicapped.
“It had been losing money anyway,” Gilchrist said, and had been kept open as a service to the people of Glencoe. Give those circumstances, he said, it was not feasible to make the changes that would have been necessary to keep the pool open.
“We decided to go with a splash pad instead,” Gilchrist said.
“The availability of outdoor recreational activities not only enhances a community’s quality of life, it also can improve the health of residents,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said in the press release. “I am sure the splash pad will be something children and their families will enjoy for years to come.”
According to the press release, the splash pad will spray water randomly from the ground or raised components. It will feature a non-slip surface that drains water immediately and it will include features designed for people with disabilities.
Gilchrist said city leaders will be discussing with the city water authority how water will be drained from the splash pad.
There are two options, he said, one that would allow water to drain into the creek, and the other, which would have chemically treated water that is recirculated. Gilchrist said it has not been determined which option is better for the Glencoe splash pad.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund was created by Congress in 1965, according to the press release from the state, and in 1975 a grant from the fund helped the city develop Wilson Park. The park features ball fields, a walking trail, picnic area and a playground.