You may not be thinking about frolicking in a spray of cool, refreshing water right now, but at Seattle Parks and Recreation we’re always one step ahead. We’re getting our parks ready for you, so when that hot spell hits this summer, you’ll have a great place to go. That’s how we roll.
Sprayparks create smiles and summer fun from the moment the water turns on Memorial Day weekend until they close on Labor Day weekend. Seattle Parks built and opened three new re-circulating sprayparks in 2012, and will open a fourth at Highland Park in 2013.
The new re-circulating sprayparks are environmentally friendly, using significantly less water — 84,000 gallons annually compared to 624,000 gallons used by wading pools. They are interactive and appeal to a wider age range of park visitors from toddlers to adults. Spray feature parks provide longer operating hours and a longer season than traditional wading pools. They also cost less to operate since fewer staff are necessary. And, unlike our wading pools, sprayparks are open every day – no matter the weather.
The 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy funded new sprayparks at Georgetown, Northacres, Beacon Mountain and Highland parks. These four new re-circulating sprayparks bring our total inventory of spray features parks to 10.
Sprayparks’ mechanical systems operate similarly to swimming pools, but they are user activated and unmonitored. The water is continually filtered, chemically balanced and re-circulated to meet public health standards.
With so many new sprayparks in our inventory, we’re still learning the best way to keep them operational when challenged with high levels of use. Last season when the chemical balance varied from the standards, the systems shut off until the water automatically rebalanced. The rebalance process generally takes between 10 and 20 minutes.
That led to some pretty unhappy park-goers. We’re working to reduce those shutoffs. Parks’ aquatics staff who maintain the sprayparks are adapting the operating procedures to limit the shutdowns. We are also asking spraypark visitors to help out by wearing swim attire, and keeping street clothes, shoes and dogs off the splashpad.
Since the opening of wading pools is weather dependent, we operate a Wading Pool Hotline in the summer, so you can see if wading pool will be open on any particular day. That number is 206-684-7796. Seattle Parks and Recreation wading pools operate from early June until late August, and only on days when the temperature is above 70 degrees.
To find the location of parks with spray features visit http://seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools.asp
Our new sprayparks have been an instant success. We look forward to providing you with a fun, safe, water-filled, splish-splashy 2013 summer.
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