Church Hill's new splash pad installed, shooting for early July opening

Jeff Bobo • Jun 23, 2020 at 2:00 PM

CHURCH HILL — The new splash pad at Church Hill's Derrick Park is installed and functional, but a few more details — including paving, sod and benches — have to be completed before the watery attraction will be open to the public.

As for the rest of Derrick Park's half-million dollar overhaul, the new playground, picnic shelters and band shell likely won't be installed before fall.

On Monday, workers were installing a paved walkway to connect the paved area around the restroom facilities with the splash pad.

City officials said the area around the splash pad where the ground was disturbed during construction will have sod and benches installed before the attraction is opened.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the planned opening date was in early June, but it was later estimated around early August.

Alderman Keith Gibson, who chairs the Parks Committee, told the Times News recently they were now shooting for an early July opening.

“We've got some caution tape up around it to keep people off of it now,” Gibson told the BMA last week. “ … I've been out there seeing kids going past it eyeing it. They're wanting to get on it so bad they can't hardly stand it, and I'm wanting to see them get on it so bad I can't hardly stand it.”

The splash pad is just one facet of Church Hill's half-million dollar upgrade project at Derrick Park, which is off Ordnance Drive behind the Church Hill Food City store.

Last week, the BMA approved bids to purchase two sets of new playground equipment, two new prefabricated picnic shelters and a prefabricated outdoor amphitheater for concerts.

Bliss Products and Services based in Lithia Springs, Georgia, won all four bids.

The toddler playground, which is called “The Kiddie Crawl,” came in at $15,865; the older child playground, called “The Katherine,” came in at $25,875, which includes the addition of a roof over the slides; the two new picnic shelters came in at $15,270; and the half-hexagon band shell came in at $14,010.

City Recorder Josh Russell told the Times News on Monday he's not anticipating that any of those new features will be completed before the end of summer.

“At the earliest the playground equipment will arrive in three weeks, plus we have to install it,” Russell said. “It will probably be two months or so for them to manufacture the shelters and the stage, so it will probably be fall before we get those in.”

There’s also site preparation and paving needed for each of those new attractions, and the city has yet to decide what type of material will be used as the base for the playgrounds.

Last month, the BMA agreed to borrow $500,000 to pay for Derrick Park improvements, with $280,000 of that covering the cost of the splash pad.

Aside from the playground, shelters and band shell, the city also purchased property from the adjacent VFW for the purpose of creating additional parking on the west side of the park.

The city has also purchased ADA (Americans with Disabilities) accessible playground equipment that will be installed. Also planned is a new bridge over the creek, and a new flagpole with lighting. 

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