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Murphysboro council joins community effort to get water park built

  • An illustration of the proposed Splash Pad in Longfellow Park in Murphysboro.

    An illustration of the proposed Splash Pad in Longfellow Park in Murphysboro.
    Courtesy of Bob Fager

By Chanda Green
Contributing Writer
updated: 12/22/2017 4:25 PM

During the Dec. 12 night's Murphysboro City Council meeting, Community Relations Chairman John Erbes introduced representatives from The Friends of Murphysboro and the Murphysboro Kiwanis, who have partnered to create a Splash Pad water park in Longfellow Park, similar to the one at Attucks Park in Carbondale.

The Splash Pad is made up of a concrete base and various water features that shoot the water up or shower it down on children.

Council members were asked to consider two options at a base cost of either $55,000 or $77,000 from Aquatix, headquartered in Minnesota. Advertising material describe the installation as a "water play environment" with "imaginatively designed splash pad and spray park products" that "deliver a twist of watery fun for kids of all ages and abilities to encourage hours of active play."

The difference in price reflects the size of the pad and the number of water features or fixtures. Bob Fager of The Friends of Murphysboro said that size was not an issue, since they had plenty of room in the park, but that cost was.

"It is quite an investment," said Fager, "but I believe it will have a significant positive impact on our community."

The council was told that the park district was committed to providing maintenance and paying for the power required to run the plant. The city would be responsible for providing the water.

Alderman Dan Bratton said that the park uses 54 gallons of water per minute when all of the water features are running, but that they only run for about 10 minutes at a time, once a visitor pushes a button for that feature.

If all of the water fixtures ran constantly eight hours a day it would cost the city about $60 a day for water. He also said that the park would probably be open from about 11 a.m. to about 7 p.m. and would only be open for about 90 days a year, during the summer months.

Bratton said that added up to about $3,500 per year that the city would be paying for the water in the splash park.

There are splash pads that recirculate the water, but those installations are significantly more expensive, starting at about $200,000, Fager said.

The council voted unanimously to provide the water for the park without charge for as long as it is used and maintained.