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Posted on: July 29, 2022

A Deep Dive into the Municipal Park Splash Pad

Kids under the splash bucket

Municipal Park re-opened in early July 2022 and unveiled the Town of Clayton’s first splash pad. This highly anticipated feature provides the community with a unique play experience that is inclusive, thoughtfully designed, and refreshingly fun.

“The new Municipal Park is a 200 percent improvement,” said Clayton parent Jessica Osborne. “I have seen crowds of people bringing their kids here to enjoy the splash pad.”

The Municipal Park renovations were funded through a 2019 Bond and included the installation of a new parking lot, sidewalks, sports courts, picnic shelters, playground, a performance stage, and the splash pad.

“I love that the splash pad caters to all ages,” added Osborne. “It has a smaller section for younger children and babies and a huge bucket for older kids. I think it is really nice.”

Dwayne-L and Jessica-R Osborne with their daughter at the splash pad

The contractor responsible for the splash pad design, Vortex, is a company commonly used in the western United States. They are well known for their splash pads in Las Vegas and California. Their attention to the intricate details helped to elevate the splash pad’s design.

According to Clayton Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard, the elements that make up the splash pad, such as water cannons and splash buckets, are important to the design, but what really enhances the quality is engagement time.

“When designing and selecting play elements, it’s important to ask yourself how long they will keep a child engaged and entertained,” said Barnard.

One of the factors that keeps children entertained is the 80/20 operating cycle of the splash pad. While the splash pad is running, only 80 percent of the elements are active at a time. This allows the water to cycle across the splash pad elements, keeping the children engaged as they must guess where the water will come from next.

While developing the splash pad, avoiding negative utility and environmental impacts was a vital priority. The Town made certain that the materials and techniques utilized in the project supported sustainability and longevity, which is why the new splash pad operates on a water recycling system.

In a recycling system, the water sprayed from the various sprinklers and buckets is supplied from a cistern that holds thousands of gallons of water. It functions similarly to a typical pool. Dynamic sand

filters power the cycle, and water from the cistern is pumped out and used. The water is then drained back into the machinery, filtered by sand and chlorinated, and then recycled. No water goes to waste.

All the chlorinated splash pad water flows back into the recycling system, and any rainwater flows off the surrounding concrete and into other installed stormwater measures. From an environmental standpoint, stormwater is controlled, and runoff and erosion issues are virtually eliminated.

“We had to be mindful of how these new surfaces would lead to increased water flow, so we took preventative action and installed stormwater control measures to mitigate these effects,” said Joshua Baird, Town of Clayton Engineering Director. “We utilized different technologies to hold back water and slowly release it to the environment so that we protect local streams, habitats, and wildlife.”

Since the splash pad technically operates as a pool, multiple Clayton Parks and Recreation staff members earned their pool operator certification. The certification equips staff with the safety knowledge and skills necessary to manage and operate the splash pad.

“We made sure that what we built would be reliable. Ten years from now, the Clayton splash pad will still be operating,” said Barnard. “We are proud to share Municipal Park with the community. We hope these renovations serve as the beginning of new traditions and events, increased community activity, and the creation of many fond memories for years to come.”

Municipal Park, including the splash pad, is free and open to the public. The newly renovated park is located at 325 McCullers Street in Clayton.

“Everything has become so expensive lately, so we really appreciate that the splash pad is completely free,” said Clayton parent Erika Hales. “It’s literally right in the middle of everything. I can bring my kids here, and they can have hours of fun with no cost at all."

Erika Hale and her two children, Tessa-R and William-L, enjoying the splash pad

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