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No splash pad decision yet

The Cottage Grove splash pad opened last summer and was a hit among residents. Woodbury city officials are considering building one near the new Madison's Place playground. Photo by Scott Wente

Woodbury Council Member Julie Ohs listed her Top 10 reasons why the new Bielenberg Sports Center should have a splash pad.

"It is inclusive and benefits more than just the athletes. We need to irrigate the field anyway, why not utilize the water twice? Kids today are over scheduled; why not just let them play?

"In our public schools, the percentage of kids receiving free or reduced lunch ranges from 5.3 to 15.4 percent, this shows a need for affordable recreation."

Those were just a few of the reasons she listed at the Wednesday, March 20, City Council workshop, where the council decided to table the decision until May.

Ohs has long advocated for a splash pad or water feature as part of the newly expanded and renovated Bielenberg Sports Center (BSC) complex.

But not all city officials agree the $500,000 available in the park dedication fund to pay for a splash pad is money well spent.

"I'm not saying it's a horrible idea, the worst possible thing the city can use the money for," Council Member Amy Scoggins said, but she's just not sold on it.

"There are still opportunities in the city, a lot of beautiful parks," she added.

A citizen task force that was formed to give input on the BSC expansion project was split on the idea when presented with the all-inclusive feature that would join the all-inclusive playground Madison's Place.

The Parks and Recreation Commission, however, was more in favor of a splash pad similar to the one in Cottage Grove's Highlands Park.

Cottage Grove's feature opened last summer for the first time and was a successful attraction.

A splash pad in Woodbury would not be costly to maintain, Parks and Recreation Director Bob Klatt said, since it would have timers and no recirculation.

Council Member Paul Rebholz expressed concern about the cleaning and sanitization aspect of a splash pad and the possibility of bacteria spreading, calling it "stuff that we just don't know about."

But since the water does not recirculate, it eliminates that problem, Klatt said.

If the council decides against a splash pad, the area would become turf or additional landscaping.

It's also possible to build a shelter and restroom building in that spot as well.

If nothing is done there, the $500,000 park dedication fund money would have to be used somewhere else.

The city sets aside money in the park dedication fund when developments come into the city. It was park dedication funds that built Central Park.

The council decided to table the discussion until later this spring, after members discuss other capital projects in the city and how those would affect the budget.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.