Splash pad project begins construction

City officials and local children were among those participating in the ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday for Parkersburg’s splash pad, being built next to the City Park pool. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG – Construction of a $1.23 million, 10,000-square-foot splash pad at the City Park pool is officially underway.

Ground was broken on the project Tuesday by Parkersburg officials, sponsors, the general contractor and some of the children who expect to be enjoying the features next summer.

“In the end, that’s what this project’s all about,” Mayor Tom Joyce said, indicating the children brought to the groundbreaking by their parents.

Among them were Becca Reid’s kids, ages 5, 3 and 5 months. They live just a few blocks from City Park.

“We’ve been talking about it for months,” Reid said.

Parkersburg City Councilwoman Sharon Kuhl helps Vienna resident Lilly Taylor, 3, lift a shovelful of dirt after the groundbreaking for the new splash pad Tuesday in Parkersburg’s City Park. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Her family has gone to the aquatic centers in Marietta and St. Marys, and Reid said they look forward to having expanded water attractions closer to home.

“Every time we go there, we see people from Parkersburg up there,” she said.

The splash pad is designed to be accessible to all and includes three zones for different age groups.

The funding includes $410,000 in contributions from local foundations and businesses, among them the Spartan, McDonough and Ross foundations, Highmark West Virginia, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and the Sisters Health Foundation.

“We’re proud of this project. We’re proud of our community partners,” Joyce said.

Parkersburg City Planner Sam Tuten gives 3-year-old Parkersburg resident Caleb Reid a hardhat for the groundbreaking at the site of the splash pad at City Park just before Tuesday’s groundbreaking. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

“We’re committed to improving our essential services, and we believe parks and recreation … are included in those essential services,” he said.

Joyce noted the splash pad — the first major addition to the pool since it was constructed in the 1930s — will be accompanied by renovations to the existing structure, for which $500,000 has been budgeted. These include the addition of climbing walls and a zipline, new diving boards, an expanded concession stand and patio area, a ramp to improve access and more.

Parkersburg City Council “made a commitment last March during our budget hearings that the splash pad was great but we need to do more,” the mayor said.

The expected completion date is May 2019.

The project is being done by Maryland-based Hunt Valley Contractors, whose CEO, Tom Sparks, was on hand for the groundbreaking on Tuesday. He said the company will utilize multiple local subcontractors, including Carver Electric, Plumbing and Heating, DeBarr Trucking and United Construction Co.

United employee Charlie Taylor, of Vienna, and his wife, Morgan, brought their daughter Lilly to the groundbreaking.

“Her favorite thing to do is play in the water, so we’re excited about this,” Morgan Taylor said.