Feature Article - April 2013
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Splash Down!

Splashpads Arriving in Style

By Kelli Anderson

Maintaining Your Cool

Another trend that manufacturers and designers are noting these days is a call for more themed designs and a trend towards more natural looking elements to mimic nature.

These parks don't just make the users happy, but also the maintenance staff who care for them. Depending on the water system that is used, maintenance can be particularly easy. For flow-through systems that don't require filtration or water treatment, maintenance may be as simple as hosing down play elements at the end of each day.

"It just takes very little maintenance since flow-through water from the city is safe already so you don't have to monitor it. Be we do recommend daily hosing down with fresh water and maybe some concrete cleaner to keep molds and bacteria from growing," Hachmeister recommended. "Also, we don't like to talk about diapers but elements need to be washed down, so adding some disinfectant to water might be a good idea."

Depending on the quality of water, there may need to be additional attention paid to the needs of the park. "Because we use well water, it's pretty hard," Davis said of the park in Oxford. "So every two to three days we have to wash down apparatus with rust remover."

Even for enclosed recirculating systems however, like the one at Lakewood Cove in Lee's Summit, maintenance has been more than manageable. In their case, however, they found that the manual addition of chemicals was the most efficient way to maintain their water quality and because calcium and lime scale buildup from the water and concrete is an issue, it does require monthly cleaning and waxing of the spray equipment. Still, it's a negligible routine given the scope of the splash park's popularity and boost to the local property values.

Likewise, Oxford's splash park has received glowing reviews from users and managers alike. "If you are struggling with revenue and how to bring people in, this is a great project," Davis said of his experience with the addition of the splash park to their community. "It's been great for us. It's been a great amenity to our park and brought a lot of people to it."