Traverse City Record-Eagle

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November 3, 2013

Problems plague splash pad

TRAVERSE CITY — City officials may have gained an unwanted, unintended ice skating rink at the redesigned Clinch Park.

The city is struggling with ways to keep water from pooling on its new splash pad over the winter. The splash pad rests at a low spot, so storm water from surrounding sidewalks, lawns, and flower beds runs into it and pools on the surface when pumps aren't running, said Russ Soyring, city planner.

When pumps are running, rainwater has to be treated and chlorinated.

"We don't want to have to treat storm water from other parts of the park," Soyring said. "And the filters are getting filled with organic debris, grass blades and leaves."

Splash pad filters also became debris-clogged by children who used the attraction, as well as from a spot where water overflows onto surrounding lawn and a flower bed.

City employees had to climb down into a confined space every 30 minutes to clean filters when the splash pad operated.

Also, the flowing river component of the splash pad doesn't work as designed, and concrete around splash pad spray nozzles already is cracking, city officials said.

The city's design firm, Hamilton Anderson Architects, recommended the city construct large underground drywells to handle rain water overflow, as well as curbs to divert storm water from the splash pad.

Soyring said the city may have to build drywells, but officials first want to seek a review from a company that boasts more experience with splash pads than Hamilton Anderson. City officials requested a proposal from Vortex Aquatic Structures International Inc. to audit the splash pad.

"They will generate a report and we will use that report to determine if there were design issues or workmanship issues ... and if the equipment meets industry standards," Soyring said. "At this point we need that kind of audit to determine who ultimately will be responsible for these changes."

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