Smiles From Cottage Grove

Residents and visitors of Cottage Grove, Minn., have a new reason to smile, and splash.

Mayor Myron Bailey was joined by Council Members Jen Peterson and Justin Olsen in welcoming visitors to the city’s latest amenity -- a Splashpad from Vortex Aquatic Structures International .

The purpose of the splash pad is partly to replace the swimming pool the city shut down last August. From the city's perspective, the Splashpad is a good swap for the pool. The pool cost the city about $75,000 a year. It required several lifeguards and locker-room workers at all times, according to information released by Vortex.

But the Splashpad has almost no operational costs. That's because no staffers are required -- children turn on the water themselves by touching raised switch-pads. The water starts to flow and continues for five minutes. It alternates flowing from the guns, showers, and pop-up fountains.

The park shuts itself down during rainstorms. The Splashpad is a slab of concrete with no standing water anywhere -- only showers that douse children.