Splashpad Saves Community Cash

Commercial Recreation Specialists recently coordinated installation of a 3,164-square-foot Splashpad at Highlands Park in Cottage Grove, Minn.

Zack McCarty, 2, gets a blast of cold water. (Pioneer Press: Richard Marshall)

Zac Dockter, Cottage Grove’s parks and recreation director, said the city expects to save $60,000 to $80,000 per year in maintenance and operational expenses because the new Splashpad replaced a pre-existing municipal pool that was costly to maintain.

The installed Splashpad will have no standing water, eliminating the need for lifeguard supervision, and utilizes a flow-through system, eliminating the need for expensive chemical treatments. The flow-through system also provides an eco-friendly drainage solution by discharging into a nearby retention pond, which in turn will replenish local wetlands.

Splashpads offer a zero-depth aquatic solution that combines the sensations of different water effect--flowing, misting, and jetting--suitable for a variety of age groups and abilities. Through activation bollards, children turn on the water themselves and watch it shoot from cannons, showers, and ground sprays.

“It’s great. Even the big kids are having fun,” said Julie Naylor, a parent at the Splashpad on opening day.

Kids play in a water cone. (Pioneer Press: Richard Marshall)

Dockter estimated the Cottage Grove Splashpad had drawn roughly 2,500 users in its first six days. “That’s a big number,” he said, especially compared to the municipal pool that in its final years averaged around 5,000 in total summer attendance, according to city figures.

The city’s long-term plan, if the first Splashpad is deemed a success, is to add three smaller features at Hamlet, Kingston, and Woodridge parks.

CRS provided consulting services, training, and technical support, as well as supplied water features manufactured by Vortex Aquatic Structures. Stantec served as the engineer and design consultants for the project.