Splash Pad Coming to WaCo?

By Elizabeth Jordansplash

Staff Reporter for the Sandersville Progress

Adding recreation, attracting visitors to Washington County, and providing economic development are just a few of the reasons the County and the City of Sandersville are looking to construct a splash pad and a disc golf park in the community.

“This will be a new recreation facility with unique features,” explained County Administrator Chris Hutchings.

When considering options for recreation, requests for pools or water parks have been heard – but liability and the cost to construct and upkeep the pool has driven other communities to close their own pools.

“A lot of counties and cities are closing their pools and building splash pads,” said Hutchings, noting that the costs and liability are minimal compared to swimming pools.

In the preliminary assessments, it was determined that about 40 families from Washington County travel to Dublin-Laurens County to their splash pad.

“We can keep that money at home,” said Hutchings, adding that other surrounding counties do not have a splash pad which could increase visits to Washington County’s park.

City Administrator Judy McCorkle echoed Hutchings’ statements, adding that the park would serve a new area of the County and be convenient to different neighborhoods.

Plans are to have the splash pad constructed by July 2015 to allow children to enjoy the park this summer.

“I’m a big believer in parks; they’re an initial investment, and then it’s very little upkeep,” said Councilperson Jason Davis.

The land for the Splash Pad Park is currently owned by the Washington County Board of Education which will be donated to the County for the park development. Utility hookup for the park will be provided by the City of Sandersville.

It was noted in both the Sandersville Council meeting as well as the Board of Commissioners’ meeting that the operating costs will be paid for by user admission fees. The Washington County Recreation Department will operate the facility.

In addition to the splash pad, the City of Sandersville is also looking to construct a Disc Golf Park on a 35-acre tract owned by the City where the Ferncrest Water tank is located.

“We met with the Professional Disc Golf Association and they will design the disc golf park for us,” said City Administrator McCorkle. “We would use hotel/motel to build the park.”

The estimated cost is approximately $25,000.

Once constructed, the disc golf park would be sanctioned for tournaments.

“About 75 players play in a tournament, going from place to place playing in the tournaments,” said McCorkle, noting that this will increase tourism to the area.

The City of Sandersville and Washington County entered into an intergovernmental agreement for the County to develop the splash park and walking trail with the City of Sandersville to develop a disc golf course.

“We appreciate the City and the County working together,” said Washington County Board of Commissioners’ Chairman Horace Daniel.

When discussing costs and financing for the park developments it was reported that the project will be completed in three phases. Those phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1: Disc golf park and splash pad/restrooms by July 1, 2015. The estimated cost associated with this phase is $273,058.
  • Phase 2: Pavilion/playground/ parking construction for 2016. The estimated cost associated with this phase is $45,000.
  • Phase 3: The demolition/clearing/landscaping and contingency for 2017. The estimated cost for this phase is $28,000.

The estimated total cost for all three phases is $346,058.

County Administrator Chris Hutchings explained that financing will come from several sources including: $85,000 from SPLOST 7; $52,500 from leftover SPLOST funds; a one-time cost of $65,000 from the general-fund; $50,000 from contributions from the City of Sandersville; $2,500 in-kind work from the City of Sandersville for demolition; $10,000 from parks and recreation grants; $12,500 in inmate work for clearing, demolition and painting; $10,000 from private grants; and $38,038 from donations and fund raising. Funding will also come from other cities with a 20 percent increase in contributions over 10 years which amounts to $20,520.