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Russellville approves location, pricing for splash pad

The Russellville splash pad is in sight as the city council approved the location and order at Monday night’s city council meeting in hopes of having the splash pad finished in time to open at this year’s Jam on Sloss Lake July 4.

The splash pad will be located between John Blackwell Sports Complex and Sloss Lake on Highway 24, with the project costing $444,729.50.

“It will blow your mind once it’s done and you see it,” said Great Southern Recreation salesman Jonas Bailey, who represents the general contractor and designer. “There won’t be anything else like it in the Southeast.”

Of the $444,729.50 to complete the project, $309,000 will come from a donation from Pilgrim’s Pride, and the remaining funds will come from an amount the city had previously set aside for a splash pad in the 2019 Capital Improvement Fund.

The splash pad will be 6,000 square feet and run on a flow-through system, where the splash pad will run on fresh water.

Several areas of the splash pad will boast different features, including an elevated area with slides and spray features.

The goal is to have the splash pad open by this year’s Jam on Sloss Lake, so excavating will begin immediately.

“For a while it will look like nothing is being done because it will take about eight to 10 weeks to get the stuff in, but then things will really go quick,” Bailey said.

Mayor David Grissom said the splash pad has been discussed since 2008, with excitement for it being increased each year.

Grissom said he contacted Bailey in 2018 to discuss plans for a splash pad, which would have been comparable to most splash pads.

After the donation from Pilgrim’s Pride, however, the plans for a typical splash pad grew to fulfill larger dreams.

“This is something we are really excited to get started on because we have been talking about it for a while,” Grissom said.

City Councilman David Palmer raised a concern about parking, about which he said several people had approached him.

Because the splash pad will be located beside John Blackwell Sports Complex, the plan is to use the existing sports complex parking for the splash pad.

Palmer said his concern is about times when Russellville is hosting a tournament at the sports complex while the splash pad is busy.

“I’d hate to lose people because we didn’t have enough parking,” Palmer said.

Palmer suggested the city look into parking options to accommodate the potential need for additional parking in the area in the future.

City Councilman Jamie Harris said grassy areas nearby, which are already used for parking sometimes because of tournaments, could be utilized.

Grissom said he did not foresee an issue because the season when the splash pad will run, Memorial Day to Labor Day, should not interfere with typical tournaments at the sports complex.

The council unanimously approved moving forward with the project at the proposed location, with the order being sent out Tuesday.

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