Splash pads have been dubbed the new public pools, popping up in cities all over the country. The appeal of splash pads is deeply rooted in their numerous benefits. Prevalent in urban areas, as well as lesser congested areas, splash pads offer entertainment and value that is attractive to local governments, task forces, fundraising groups, financial contributors, property owners, citizens, visitors, and kids! Little else in community development and progressive community amenities today has such a broad appeal.
So, where do you start?
Everyone in your splash pad conversations has a stake in the endeavor. Therefore, it’s important that you review several of the pre-planning considerations before moving forward. These tips below will help set the stage for a successful project and a positive experience for everyone involved when the dialog starts early and includes all key players.
It’s said that “location is everything”, and it’s the first consideration in your pre-planning for a splash pad. Having a visible location will heighten use. The more visible it is, the more the destination is able to market itself.
- Have you identified a location already?
- Is it the best location?
- Is it your only option?
- Is it private or public land?
- Has it been donated for a specific use?
- Does it need to be purchased yet?
Three critical elements to consider when deciding on a location are the availability of water, power, and waste water lines. Splash pads utilize one of two systems for handling your splash pad water: drain away the water, or recirculate it. If your location is within city limits, some municipalities will require a sanitary waste system use with splash pads, and others will allow the use of sewer system. For these reasons, it’s important to initiate preliminary conversations with the State Health Department immediately before moving forward. If you’re required by the city to utilize a recirculation system, then you need approval from the State Health Department and getting them involved sooner, rather than later, will preempt any surprises along the way. Likewise, designing or documenting utility connections will often require the guidance of a Civil Engineer. If the project will be city-owned, the city may have their own Civil Engineer to assign.
Permits & Zoning
Splash pads are installed on both public and private land. Common places include city parks, private residential associations, private campgrounds, or public parks; all of which have unique zoning requirements. One of the first conversations you should have before moving forward with any splash pad project should be with your city to discuss required building permits and zoning.
Space & Parking
Making sure the location will provide enough space for your design is important. While splash pads can be designed to fit a designated size specification, you want to make sure you have enough space for the unique needs of your community. Not only do you need adequate space for the splash pad itself, but you also need space for the mechanical equipment. Will the location provide adequate parking? Most municipalities require designated and/or a certain number of parking spaces for these type of amenities.
When deciding on your location, be sure to check on the below-ground water level. If the splash pad will be using a recirculation system, it will require a buried water reservoir and the water table will play a key factor.
Sidewalks & Bathrooms
Will the people using the splash pads have easy access to the location, or will they need to drive? Is it close to a sidewalk or trail system so walking and biking is possible? Proximity to a bathroom is often a consideration with putting in a splash pad. Once you’ve got your potential site selected, you’ll want to check codes for what type of bathrooms are required and how close they need to be. In some cases, you may be able to utilize existing bathrooms with the addition of a connecting paved sidewalk. Again, if your splash pad will be using a recirculation system, there can be further bathroom requirements.
We’re here to help you with all your pre-planning splash pad considerations and help guide you through the entire process. Our experienced staff and resources can help you avert issues and keep your project moving smoothly from the pre-planning phase to the concept and budget analysis phase, all the way through completion. Contact us today.