Summer just got better for kids all over Tallapoosa County, as an Ohio company finished installing the long-waited splash pad at the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex this week.
The Splashplex is projected to open for use May 26 and includes fountains and bucket drops for kids and a shade pavilion for parents and grandparents. Alexander City Parks and Recreation Department director Sonny Wilson said sod will be laid this week and a fence will be installed before the Splashplex will officially open.
The recreation feature is located on the main drive through the 212-acre park near the recently updated Imagination Station playground. Like other recreational facilities at the park, use of the splash pad will be free.
“If everybody will do the right thing and follow the rules, we will leave it open from 8 a.m. to 5 or 6 in the evening,” Wilson said.
The project has been on Wilson’s wish list for seven years but it was among the first items cut every time the budget needed to be trimmed, he said.
“I had just about given up on ever getting it until Tallapoosa County commissioner Steve Robinson came to me and said he wanted to do something for the kids to do around Tallapoosa County,” Wilson said. “He paid half the cost of it.”
Wilson sat down with Robinson and Alexander City councilmember Scott Hardy to come up with the plan. When the Lake Martin Leadership Green Team heard about the project, it set out to raise the money for the pavilion.
“They are doing a very nice pavilion,” Wilson said. “It will have seating and lights and ceiling fans. We will dedicate the pavilion in memory of Jennifer Baker.”
Baker was a longtime parks and rec employee who died after a battle with cancer.
The City of Alexander City paid the remainder of the $50,000 cost for equipment and installation, and Green Team members Susan McCrispin, Tammi Montgomery, Lauren Fields, Chad Jones and Tyler Hancock spearheaded the effort to raise $16,000 for the pavilion, Wilson said.
City departments prepared the site and ran water lines and utilities for the pad, which was installed by My Splash Pad out of Louisville, Ohio. A donor-recognition plaque, featuring the names of pavilion donors in splashes, will be posted on a wall at the site.