GREENFIELD — The Greenfield City Council is moving forward with plans to borrow nearly $2 million to build a splash pad at Riley Park Pool.
Council members have preliminarily approved plans to use a bond to pay for construction of a splash pad that’s expected to open next summer.
Before any money can be borrowed, the Greenfield Parks and Recreation Board, which is overseeing the project, must hold a public hearing to give residents a chance to weigh in on the proposal. That meeting is planned for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at city hall, 10 S. State St.
City officials have long planned to upgrade the Riley Park Pool, which was first built in the 1980s and has seen few upgrades since.
In 2005, a proposal to take out a $3.5 million bond narrowly passed the Greenfield City Council.
That project was to feature a new water park complete with slides and a lazy river. Former Mayor Rodney Fleming vetoed it, saying the cost was too high.
But residents’ requests for updating the pool haven’t subsided, officials say. They’re leaving Greenfield to go to communities that have better pool facilities, city officials say.
Upgrading the pool was a top request among residents surveyed about future plans for Greenfield’s parks about five years ago, and when Mayor Chuck Fewell went door to door campaigning for his post, residents told him time and time again the pool needs new features, he said.
Plans call for a curved splash pad with spray features and dump buckets for kids of all ages, especially youngsters, to be built south of the pool. Construction is expected to begin once the pool closes for the season later this summer.
Building the splash pad will nearly $2 million. More than $1.7 million will go toward construction costs; another $210,000 will be paid out for architecture and engineering costs, estimates show.
Buzz Krohn, the city’s financial consultant, said the loan will have little impact on resident’s property tax bills.
Though he’s still working on estimates for this project, he pointed to Greenfield’s $3.3 million loan borrowed last year for renovations at one of the city’s fire stations. That loan increased bills by less than three cents, he said.
Property owners who have already reached their tax caps won’t see any increases in their bills, he said.
Councilman Gary McDaniel said he hopes residents are supportive of the project and the loan needed to pay for it.
Over time, the splash pad will pay for itself, he said. Many residents are already spending money to visit other pools when they could be spending the money locally, he said.
“This has been wanted and needed for years,” McDaniel said.
The Greenfield Parks Board meets Wednesday, and the public will have a chance to weigh in on the splash pad proposal.
When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: City hall, 10 S. State St.
What: Public hearing on Greenfield officials’ plans to borrow nearly $2 million for splash pad project.