Millennium Park’s Splash Pad is almost ready. July 1 is the target date for turning on the bubbling water fountain designed for young children.
Millennium Park’s Splash Pad is almost ready.
July 1 is the target date for turning on the bubbling water fountain designed for young children.
“It just breaks my heart that it’s summer and it’s not working yet, but it’s real close” to opening, said Doug Boehm, superintendent of parks and planning for the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District. A few valves were on back order, an electrician needed to run a check and park district workers were doing last minute work to prepare for landscaping.
Boehm hoped to test out the Splash Pad on Friday, June 22.
Then the Illinois Department of Public Health can come out for an inspection.
The amusement has been redesigned and now has a concrete pad. There are five new features and various sized bubblers in the pad. Kids will touch a hand pad to start up the water features that will run on a 20-minute cycle.
At the request of parents, the Splash Pad has been designed into two spaces, Boehm said. One side includes the features for fun and romping and the other is mostly bubblers for a modified quiet space.
The Splash Pad was part of the original design when the park district plotted Millennium Park at 18600 Harwood Ave. in Homewood. The park, opened in 2000, straddles the border between Homewood and Flossmoor.
Boehm said it was a wonderful addition to the park and served the community well over the years, but the expected life of the amusement was 15 years and as it passed that mark it created numerous problems for the park district. In 2016, the main pump’s filter overheated making the pad inoperable for several days until staff could make repairs. Also, rubber from the original pad was disintegrating and clogging drains.
The operating guts of the Splash Pad are in a pump house in a space adjacent to the park’s picnic shelter. Gone are the massive pipes and filters that covered the floor. Boehm said the new system “is amazing technology” at work. The park district draws the water from a well on site. The water is filtered and chemically treated before it is sent out to the Splash Pad.
Each feature has its own shut-off valve, so if a problem is detected only one specific area will be closed. Boehm said starting the Splash Pad will be a simple turn-key operation for park district employees.
The park board agreed in 2017 to replace the Splash Pad. In December 2017, it awarded a $191,975 contract to George’s Landscaping of Joliet for the demolition of the original pad and installation of the new Splash Pad. The equipment for the water fountains was installed by NuToys for $77,501. The park district also paid Innovative Aquatic Design $16,000 in architectural design fees for the project. In spring 2018, the board awarded an $8,900 contract to K- Brothers Fence, Inc. for a chain link fence around the Splash Pad that is required by the state Department of Public Health.