22 Splash Pads Open Saturday; Parks Overhaul Continues

Friday, May 25th 2012, 6:04 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The City of Tulsa is opening 22 splash pads over the Memorial Day Weekend and five pools in the first week of June.

The list will grow as the summer continues.

The pools are dry -- and the water playgrounds are off -- but not for much longer.

The City of Tulsa's water features at the parks start opening Saturday - with the splashpads opening first.

"We try to get our splash pads open by Memorial Day, last summer was pretty hot and we're starting to get some hot weather, so we try to open the splash pads earlier," Michelle Allen, of the City of Tulsa said.

In addition to what's already been built, like a water playground at Owen Park, improvements are on the way.

Another water playground is under construction at Whiteside Park and it's due to open in July.

It's the new model of water features for Tulsa parks -- one that requires far less maintenance than a swimming pool and doesn't require a lifeguard.

Elsewhere, major improvements ranging from new playgrounds to mulch overhaul is under way.

The city is digging out all of the sand in playgrounds and replacing it with a mulch that's softer.

Some of this progress has been planned for a while, but some is a sign of better times.

The playground improvement work is the result of bond money voters approved years ago, while the pool funding is because the city is seeing better times.

Even junior pools, like the one at Whiteside, are expensive to operate - about $35,000 per year.

The city is funding the pools directly again this year, after years of relying on donations.

"In the past we've had to go ask the private sector and a lot of people keep our park pools open," Allen said.

The city has already completed other improvements to old playgrounds that some children will discover for the first time this summer.

Click here for the complete list of the city's splash pads and water playgrounds.