published Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Spring City hopes Splash Pad will attract families, revenue

  • photo
    Casey Fox, Audrey Morton, Owen Sutton and Damian Akers, from left to right, run under the bucket aquatic feature at Veterans Park's new Splash Pad water feature in Spring City, Tenn. The park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Photo by Kimberly McMillian
    enlarge photo

IF YOU GO

What: Splash Pad water feature

Hours of operation: Daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Veterans Park, Spring City, Tenn.

Admission: Free to the public

SPRING CITY, Tenn. — Locals took to Splash Pad like ducks to water during a week of testing for the $322,435 aquatic feature at Veterans Park in downtown Spring City, Tenn.

"[I saw] people taking part in that and having a blast," Spring City Manager Stephania Motes said Friday about the preview before Saturday's ribbon-cutting and grand opening.

In 2011, the Spring City Commission accepted a bid by Rich Construction Inc. in Lenoir City, Tenn., to build the blue-and-green water feature designed by Vortex Aquatic Structures International.

Former Spring City Manager Vicki Doster had said that it would serve as a source of revenue because families would dine, fuel their vehicles and buy more items while visiting the attraction.

Guest testers tried out the features last week.

A group of toddlers from the Teacher's Pet Learning Center in Spring City were among the first to use the toddler fountains, which include the Water Jelly and Magic Mist.

Brayden McClure, 4, said he liked the Water Jelly umbrella "because it got me all wet."

Audrey Morton, 2, who held onto the umbrellalike fountain, said she liked that "it was really cold."

The splash pad includes fountains for older kids called the Team Spray and Power Volcano.

"You can't get off of it," said Damian Akers, 11.

The cost of the water feature has drawn mixed reviews from a few adults.

Damian's father, Lance Sullivan, said he was "glad that they're doing something for the kids," but added, "but it's seasonal."

Albert Smith, 57, said the Splash Pad would offer fun for younger families, but he said that repairing the walking trail around the park would benefit older residents.

Asked to respond, Motes said, "Change is difficult to absorb sometimes."

While the water attraction might be pitched primarily to younger families, she said, people of all ages can enjoy the park through family reunions or gatherings hosted there.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@ bellsouth.net.

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