With summer fast approaching, Hoquiam children will soon have another way to keep cool and enjoy the sun. Renovations of the Art Pocklington Central Play Park should be completed by June 15, just in time for school to let out.
The updated park will feature a spray park and a covered picnic area. A new play structure was completed in the summer of 2012.
“I went by the park the other day and counted 52 kids playing on the playground,” said City Administrator Brian Shay. “The park’s already becoming really popular.”
Park renovations were largely funded by grants and donations, including a $198,000 grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. The city contributed $104,000 to the $300,000 project.
But the cost of labor for the picnic structure won’t be part of the park’s bill — a group of local carpenters volunteered to construct the building.
The spray park was installed to replace the wading pool formerly located at the park, which officially closed last year. Shay said the spray park is cheaper and safer — the city won’t have to pay lifeguards to staff the park because there’s less risk of children drowning and a spray park uses less water. Users will be able to activate the sprinklers, which will automatically shut off after about 10 minutes.
Shay said water will squirt up from the ground, and a giant daisy will raid water down on children. And unlike in Olympia’s Heritage Park fountain, water won’t be chlorinated and recycled. Shay said the spray park will use fresh water that will flow into storm drains, as it’s cheaper than installing pumps and water purifiers.
“It’s based on the idea of kids running through the sprinkler,” Shay said. “It should be a lot of fun.”
The spray park should also be more practical for Grays Harbor weather, Shay said. The wading pool took a few hours to fill, and it was sometimes hard to gauge which days would be best weather-wise.
It was seldom open on weekends because of tight city funding.
But the spray park will be open seven days a week until 8:30 or 9 p.m.