GREENFIELD — Riley Pool needs an upgrade — on that much, city officials and families agree.
After years of complaints from parents who say they’re tired of driving out of the county to find age-appropriate facilities for their young children, park officials are moving forward with a plan to improve the community pool.
Plans are in their infancy, but park officials hope to open a splash pad by summer 2018, said Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department director Ellen Kuker. And they’re asking Hancock County youngsters to be involved in the process. Through July 1, children may submit drawings of features they want to see in a splash or spray area to park officials, who will use the designs to fine-tune what Greenfield’s splash pad will look like.
So far, officials don’t have cost estimates for the project, Kuker said, nor do they know how they’ll pay for the added amenity. At a recent park board meeting, officials discussed borrowing up to $2 million for the project — a move that would need to be approved by Greenfield City Council.
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While surrounding communities have added slides, splash features and lazy rivers to make their community pools feel more like water parks — features that are attractive to young families — Greenfield’s city-owned pool has seen few updates since it opened in the 1980s.
City officials formed a committee this year to begin looking at options for expanding offerings at the pool. The pool, which was built more than 30 years ago, is in good shape, especially for its age, Kuker said. So officials decided to look at adding amenities that would attract more families to the pool.
Abi Tambasco, a member of the committee — which comprises about 10 community stakeholders — wants to take her young children to a park where they can spend the afternoon splashing around and running through water.
At 7, 2 and 11 months, the Greenfield mom’s kids are a little too young to fully enjoy Riley Pool, which has few attractions for tiny swimmers. She has to pack up the car and head out of town. Shelbyville, Fishers, New Castle and Greenwood have splash pads for young families to enjoy, but those communities are at least 25 minutes away — a trip that can be inconvenient for young families looking for a place to enjoy summer days.
Beyond attracting more families to the park and adding features that increase quality of life for residents, a new splash pad would offer another way for kids to be active during summer, Kuker said.
“There are a lot of close splash and spray pads in the area,” Kuker said. “But we absolutely want to keep our young families here in Greenfield.”
Many residents have identified an upgraded pool facility as their top desire for Greenfield in community surveys. A five-year park plan launched in 2013 included plans to add some amenities in coming years. Last year, pool officials added a rock climbing wall to the facility at Apple and Main streets.
The city’s downtown revitalization plan, which was put together in 2013, also included plans to eventually build a splash pad.
Officials are eyeing land immediately south of the swimming pool for the splash pad, which could include spray features and a dump bucket.
Park board members recently gave Kuker permission to hire a pool consultant to work on preliminary designs and give cost estimates for the project.
If all goes as planned, construction on a splash pad would begin once Riley Pool closes for the season in 2017.
Splash and spray features can’t come to Greefield fast enough, many parents say. Especially as Greenfield grows.
A splash pad is bound to be popular once it opens Tambasco said. Greenfield offers great parks, local retail and restaurant options and fun festivals, but it’s missing pool features for young children to enjoy. And she doesn’t want to drive to Shelbyville or Fishers to visit their splash and spray pads.
“I want this for our town. For my kids,” she said.
The Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department is proposing to build a new splash pad at Riley Pool. Children of all ages across Hancock County are invited to help design what the new spray/splash area might look like by submitting drawings of their favorite features. The deadline to submit a drawing is July 1.
The drawings will help local volunteers and officials decide what’s important to the community.
- Drawings must be on a plain white sheet of paper (size 8 1/2 by 11 inches)
- Children may draw features they’ve liked at other splash pads or spray zones; or something out of their own imagination. Dream big!
- Include (on the back or attached to the picture) the child’s name, age, hometown and parents’ contact information.
- Drawings may be delivered to the Greenfield Parks Department in the Patricia Elmore Center, or mailed to Greenfield Parks Department, 280 N. Apple St., Greenfield, IN 46140 Attn: Ellen Kuker. For questions, email Ellen Kuker, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 317-325-1453