The ‘splash pad’ discussion continues

Staff Report

GALLIPOLIS — The Gallipolis Historical Preservation Board recently met in the Gallipolis Municipal Building with Downtown Revitalization Project representatives, as well as the public, to discuss the possibility of adding a splash pad in Gallipolis City Park.

According to minutes of the meeting, more than 30 individuals were present to discuss the possibility of a dog day care and the splash pad.

President of the DRP Jimmy Wiseman spoke for the group looking to place a splash pad, also called spray pools often seen in public parks that shoot water from the ground using nozzles, in Gallipolis City Park. Handouts depicting pictures of the proposed structure were given to board members and those in attendance. The DRP ideally would like the splash pad to be placed near the Court Street area of City Park due to a lack of trees in the area.

Wiseman said the creation of the pad was to draw more families and business to the downtown area and City Park. No slides or extra accessories were planned to go with the pad. The DRP proposed additional colored lights with the pad to add to the aesthetic of the pad’s timed water displays. Plans say the pad would be concrete, roughly three inches thick and 30-feet by 30-feet in its dimensions. To tie into the historical aspects of City Park, DRP members proposed incorporating words and imagery depicting notable members and events of Gallipolis around the pad’s outer edge. Benches would be placed near the pad. Proposed operating hours and times for the pad would been from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the months of June, July and August. The pad would run on a timer with a start button so as to not run too long.

Minutes state Wiseman expressed the DRP wanted the creation of the splash pad to be a positive experience and not a conflict within the community.

Concerns were raised in the meeting regarding the infrastructure of aging water lines in town and what that meant in regard to the splash pad.

When asked what the pad would cost, Wiseman reportedly said the structure could cost between $85,000 and $100,000. DRP in previous meetings had said they would fund any construction and maintenance needs with the pad.

Individuals raised concerns with whether the pad would take away patrons from the Gallipolis Municipal Pool and would it need to close should the pad be constructed. It was postulated that 30 workers could potentially lose jobs, if the pool closed.

City Manager Gene Greene reportedly said other organizations had approached the city in the past with desires to place statues, banners and other structures in the park and were turned away. The city currently has an ordinance saying, “There shall be no additional permanent structures placed above ground in the City Park . The term ‘structures’, however, shall not be defined to include any vegetation, waste containers, benches, drinking fountains, sprinkler system or lighting system.”

City Commissioner and Historical Preservation Review Board Chairman Tony Gallagher mentioned this in a previous city meeting where the splash pad idea was first proposed.

Wiseman reportedly replied the DRP had an attorney reviewing the ordinance to see if it met the criteria of prohibited structures in the ordinance. Minutes report that the DRP had a general consensus feeling that if they could not have the splash pad in the park, they did not wish build it in an alternate location.

Reportedly residents of Gallipolis at the meeting expressed they felt the splash pad addition in town would be a good idea but that it should be placed somewhere other than the park.

Wiseman’s presentation ended. Wiseman reportedly asked that if the DRP was to present the splash pad idea again, if there could be a change in venue for the next meeting to allow for a greater number of individuals to attend as the municipal building meeting room could only allow for so many.

Historical board members entered executive session before returning to public discussion. Board member Troy Johnson moved to “table the request” of the DRP pending city legal advice look at the liability of splash pads, ordinances and ownership issues other towns might have encountered with pads in their city limits. Nancy Smith seconded the motion and all members voted yes to carry the motion.

Staff Report