Traverse City Record-Eagle

June 27, 2013

Clinch Park's new waterscape turned off for 10 days of testing

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — The city’s new waterscape feature at Clinch Park may sit high and dry until after the Cherry Festival.

The new splash pad and rain feature at the city’s $2.9 million park makeover recirculates its water and filters it in a way similar to a swimming pool’s filtering system. As such, the city needs a license from the state of Michigan that requires a 10-day testing period prior to inspection.

City officials are investigating to see if the state will allow them to reopen the waterscape spigot if they continually run fresh water through the system rather than recirculating it.

“If the state lets us use continuous fresh water, it’s not like a swimming pool, it’s more like a lawn sprinkler,” said Russ Soyring, city planner. “But it will be colder water, a lot colder because it won’t have time to warm up.”

The city started its testing period for the system on Wednesday, so the 10-day testing period would end with the Cherry Festival on July 6.

Tom Buss, director of environmental health for the Grand Traverse County Health Department, said the city has a fair chance to gain state permission because splash pads that let water go down a drain don’t even require a license. What Buss and city officials don’t know is if they will have to shut it down again for 10 days of testing before the state will allow them to return to a recirculation system.

City officials haven’t yet determined the waterscape’s hours of operation.