Four splash pads in the parish, which West Baton Rouge Parish Parks and Recreation debuted this summer, will soon close for the season.
“As soon as there’s a cold snap of weather,” WBR Parks and Recreation Director Anatole Vincent said.
The WBR Parish Council originally budgeted $750,000 for the splash pads but accepted a $680,000 bid from Splash Zone in February. Following construction, the splash pads debuted in July for nearly all day, every day operation.
“It was something right around the corner from the house to go and do,” WBR Parish resident Kristen Olinde said. She said the Erwinville splash pad provided opportunities for her and her children, Caleb and Anna, to interact with others outdoors.
“It kind of broke up the monotony of summer,” she said.
Once school started, WBR Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot said the splash pads remained open after school and on weekends.
As the weather cools down, he said, the parish non-heated waterline which feeds the splash pads will soon become too cold for water play.
Once the splash pads close for winter, project manager Cletus Langlois said Splash Zone will complete its contract with the parish by applying a more permanent form of acrylic coating to the splash pads.
That acrylic will have a 25-year warranty, Langlois said.
Vincent said he hopes the parish can get at least 15 to 20 years of use out of the splash pads.
At the Sept. 26 parish council meeting, the parish council unanimously approved the substantial completion of the splash pads and the final project price of $662,962.70, down about $17,000 from the original contract price and down about $87,000 from the amount the council originally budgeted.
“I think it was money well-spent,” Langlois said. “I think everybody enjoyed them. Every pad is to its maximum. It can’t take any more features or anything on it. We got the most bang for our buck that we could.”
Council members Barry Hugghins and Naomi Fair originally voted against the bid for the project. Hugghins said in February, “$170,000 for a hose pipe and a sprinkler for the kids to run through is just too much money.”
Hugghins and Fair voted Sept. 26 in favor of the substantial completion.
Olinde said the splash pads keep people in the parish and spending money in the parish. “That was a great move on their part,” she said of Parks and Recreation. “Not every family can (afford to) go to Blue Bayou.”