[updated 7/18/12 at 6:54pm] On a recent scorchingly hot afternoon, I stopped by Herron Playground at 2nd and Reed streets and saw throngs of kids and parents cooling off in the fabulous sprayground - short arcs of water for the little ones, taller sprayers and geysers made for bigger kids. One tiny boy yelled it best while running through the showers, “This is Awesommmmmme!” Indeed.
I remembered my afternoon at Herron when I got this Help Desk question from a Bella Vista parent whose recent splash-seeking experience was decidedly less-than-awesome. She writes:
One Sunday-I think the first when it was like, 96 degrees - we decided to get Maddie into her suit and take her to the splash pad. That also involved getting her hyped up to go to the splash pad, talking about how hot it was and how nice it would be to play in the water. Well, we walk up to Starr Garden, the whole time Maddie is getting really excited, and pointing to the slide and the swing, and we get in the gate and see the splash pad isn't working. So we decide it must be a fluke, and resolved to try Seger. But, leaving a park without playing requires some finessing, and even more enthusiasm for what's to come: which was a now second promise of a splash pad. So, we walk from 6th to 10th, and entered the park, walking by all the equipment anticipating a refreshing cool down, only to see the second splash pad was also turned off. It was disappointing, and we felt bad getting her so excited. We played and watched the dogs. At least she didn't really know what she was missing.
Bummer, right? The splash pad at the Headhouse is working, but that seemed too far away at the time. But what gives over at Seger Park Playground and Starr Garden? “Inquiring toddler minds want to know,” our spray-hunting parent wrote.
When I called over to Starr Garden, staff said it's working and that they will turn on the sprinkler feature as long as someone comes into the office and asks. The same is true for many of the older, simpler sprayer water features at Parks & Rec centers. (At some of the newer spraygrounds there are buttons on posts that activate water features for a set time period.)
But, it turns out that our reader was right about Seger Park. That spray fountain is out of order.
Back on June 7 the Facebook page for Friends of Seger Park Playground had this update: “The Spray Fountain is currently not working. The Advisory [Council] is working with the Rec Dept to rectify the issue. No time frame to report when it will be fixed.” The Friends group held a design competition last year to rethink the sprayground and work on the project is anticipated to begin next year. This makes me wonder if Seger Park's water feature will be fixed at all.
Messages left with representatives of the Department of Parks and Recreation this week were not returned in time for this post. (We'll update when we hear more.)
[updated] "Staff is well aware of the Seger Park spray ground and has been working on solve the matter for weeks," Mark Focht, First Deputy Commissioner for Parks & Facilities at the Department of Parks and Recreation, said over email. "Several holes have been dug to try and find a break or leak in the pipe. Staff believes that they have identified the issue as a valve which has broken off in the closed position. More excavation work is scheduled for Thursday. Staff will then be able to better determine a method and time frame for repair."
Great news! Here's hoping the repair can be completed swiftly.
Meanwhile I started compiling a map of parks with spraygrounds and water features to help you beat the heat this summer.
Eyes on the Street's Help Desk is here to help you get answers to tricky questions. Feel free to ask your questions about a particular site, development, project, or city services. Email with “Help Desk” in the subject.