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The long and frustrating effort to get a spray park constructed inside the New Albany Sportsplex appears to be near an end.
To say it’s not a moment too soon is an understatement. What was projected to be a three-month project when it was approved by the New Albany Board of Alderman last May has turned into 14 months.
The $268,000 contract was awarded to Professional Parks of Adamsville, Tenn., which has moved very slowly to complete it.. In fact, in some months construction did not seem to progress at all.
Even the city attorney has been involved in trying to get the construction moving.
“We’ve been back and forth with them for the last three or four months,” Mayor Tim Kent said this week.
Kent said the city wants the project opened by this weekend, but company representatives working at the project site seemed unsure that that was going to happen. The company blamed the delay on the rainy spring.
When it does open it will be the culmination of a 17-year effort by Ward Three Alderman Tommy Beasley to get a city water attraction going for area youth.
“I don’t see why this company has taken so long to complete it,” he said. “The mayor and the city attorney have had to stay on them to get anything done.”
So far the city has not decided how much it will charge for use of the spray park or the exact operating hours.
The mayor said he expects the park will be open until dusk during he summer. He said the city might have a minimal charge during the week and perhaps a higher fee on weekends when the sportsplex is crowded with visitors connected to teams playing at the facility.
We have no problem having a higher use fee on weekends to help recoup operating costs. But we think it is important to keep the fee to a minimum on weekdays, perhaps no more than a dollar or two.
Because the city has no public swimming pool, it is the only place in the area where most children will be able to enjoy a water attraction.