Village council gives go ahead for water recreation facility in Nathaniel Massie Park –
By Patricia Beech –
Kids in Manchester will be able to beat the heat this summer after construction is completed on a new Splash Pad in Nathaniel Massie Park on West 4th Street.
The movement to install the Splash Pad was championed by Manchester Councilwoman, Christine Henderson who says it was the children of the village who inspired her to pursue the construction of the water recreation facility.
As an elementary and middle-school teacher in the Manchester Local District, Henderson conducted student surveys asking “What is one thing you would like for Manchester to have that it doesn’t currently have?”
“They always wanted a public swimming pool, but finding someone to run it and the cost of the upkeep was so expensive it was out of reach for us,” she says. “One of the things they liked instead was a Splash Pad because it didn’t take a lot of maintenance, and no one had to stay there full-time. So, they felt a splash pad would be the best choice.”
Henderson says her support for construction of a Splash Pad was based primarily on safety concerns.
“There’s always a danger of kids getting in the river unsupervised,” shes says. “My husband and I boat on the river every summer and we see a lot of kids playing along the shore. Being kids, they don’t always appreciate how dangerous the river can be for swimmers.”
Henderson began pursuing funding for the Splash Pad two years ago, but available grants were either insufficient to fund the project, or were awarded to other applicants.
Then in April of this year,Holly Johnson, Director of the Adams County Economic and Community Development Office, announced the State of Ohio’s biennial Capital Budget had awarded the county $250,000 for the construction of Splash Pads in all five local villages – West Union, Seaman, Winchester, Peebles, and Manchester.
Construction on the Manchester splash pad is set to begin in five to six weeks.
Henderson, who is charged with overseeing the village’s parks, says locating the splash pad in Nathaniel Massie Park will help facilitate construction of the project.
“It will be on the very corner where it hooks into the village’s water system so we don’t even have to dig up a road or go out of our way to supply water to the pad,” she said, adding that those details were worked out two years before the village was awarded the funding.
Henderson also said the cost of operating the Splash Pad would run about $1,000 for the entire summer season.
“The system recycles and reuses water, and it’s has a timer that turns it on and off daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” she said. “Those features make it cost effective for the village.”
Because Splash Pads provide wet entertainment with relatively low maintenance, Henderson says the park’s regular maintenance person will oversee the area.
“There’s really nothing that can be vandalized,” she says. “The spouts are capped into the cement, and our park custodian will do all the maintenance and keep the area clean.”
According to Debbie Ryan, Coordinator of Adams County’s Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) Program and Safe Communities Program, several counties in Ohio have been awarded CHC grants to install splash pads.
“They’re very popular,” says Ryan. “Many other counties in Ohio already have them because all people, including those with disabilities, can have fun and enjoy a Splash Pad!”
Ryan points to the 2018 County Health Rankings (in which Adams County scored dead last among all of Ohio’s counties) to emphasize the need to provide more opportunities for physical activities in local communities.
As reported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings, Adams County scored a 40 percent in “access to exercise opportunities”. Access is defined as living within a half mile radius of a park or playground or in a three-mile radius of a recreational facility.
“The Health Rankings show that we have to do more,” Ryan says. “Splash Pads are a great way to increase recreational opportunities, and the documented benefits of Splash Pads include helping children with balance, strength, coordination, and social skills, plus it’s free and open to the public.”