Politics & Government

Wichita to renovate six swimming pools and build six splash pads

By Memorial Day 2020 residents will once again be able to splash around in McAdams pool as well as two newly renovated neighborhood pools and three new splash pads.

On Tuesday, the City Council approved the revised aquatic master plan by the Department of Parks and Recreation, which will renovate six neighborhood pools and build six new splash pads at neighborhood parks during the next two years.

The council voted unanimously to accept the master plan with a provision for department staff to come back and later discuss the specifics of how the $20 million budget will be spent. Staff presented multiple options themed shade structures, hidden surprises and other artistic touches, some of which would cause the projects to go over budget. At the Mayor’s request, the department will revise the art options to stay within the approved budget and re-present the options at an additional meeting.

The approval of the McAdams park pool renovation was a long-awaited victory for many community members, who in 2017 fought back against the closure of the pool, which served a lower-income area near 13th St. and the I-135 freeway.

Mary Dean, a member of the community, thanked the council and others for listening to the community, particularly in re-opening the McAdams pool.

“I want to thank the council and the planning committee for all of their efforts and all that they’ve done to make this good for all of Wichita,” Dean said. “I’m very proud of everybody. Thank you very much — long journey.”

The first phase of the plan will begin construction this year, with all six structures open to the public by swim season 2020, which starts on Memorial Day, said Brian Hill, aquatics manager. The first phase will renovate Aley, McAdams and Orchard pools, and construct new splash pads in the place of existing pools at Boston, Evergreen and Edgemoor parks. Of those three, only the Evergreen pool is open this season.

The second phase of the plan will begin construction in 2020 and will renovate College Hill, Harvest and Minisa pools, and build new splash pads at Harrison, Linwood and Planeview parks.

Next year, the city also plans to keep the pools open longer.

The pools are currently open from 1 to 6 p.m., six days a weekend from Memorial day to the first week of August. The new plan will change hours of operation to 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day to the start of school.

Once schools re-open, the pools will be open on the weekends until Labor Day.

Hill said the designers of the parks and pools worked to be creative with renovations, as well as established individual themes for each of the splash pads.

“We want something that celebrates the history of the city,” Hill said. “(And) to make sure to be inclusive to the whole family and make sure that all the concerns will be addressed.”

The current plans for the individual pools and splash pads are as follows:

Aley park pool: The plan will maintain the basic structure of six swim lanes, implement a larger seating lounge area, maintain the existing slide, add a new spray ground area, and add multiple trees for shaded areas.

Boston park: ‘Aviation’ water playground. This transformed splash pad will feature an aviation theme to honor Wichita’s history as the Air Capital, said Bryan Hill, aquatics manager. The splash pad will feature increased seating and shade structures, in-ground water jets, swings and integrated art.

College Hill park pool: This pool will renovate existing parking, renovate the bathhouse to add staff room and family change room, fix the filter system, recirc pump, drainage,sub-grade and mushroom spray, as well as expand deck area and add shade.

Edgemoor park: ‘Water Cycle’ water playground. Edgemoor’s pool, which has been closed since 2012, will be transformed into a water playground telling the story of the cycle of water. The plan features increased shade structures as well as trees, seating, rope hammocks, a meandering stream, a water works splash structure and integrated art.

Harrison park pool: ‘Oasis’ water playground. The new structure at Harrison Park will feature a semi-circle of artificial turf around the water playground fixture. The playground will include a waterfall, multiple slides, in-ground water jets, limestone block seating, a cliometric net, decorative concrete and interactive water features.

Harvest park pool: this pool will be update existing shade structures and renovate the current slide. Additionally, a new double slide will be implemented in the deep end, with swim lanes, a shallow play area with a water bench and sunshade, a toddler slide, and new lounge areas, trees and artificial turf areas.

Linwood park pool: ‘Mossy stones’ water playground. This pool will be transformed into a shallow meandering stream surrounded by grassy areas, mossy bridges, and water wheels. The playground will feature in-ground water jets, decorative concrete, boulders and rocks for sitting, interactive water fountains, shaded areas and updated existing shade structures.

McAdams park pool: The currently closed pool will be renovated to include a water slide and toddler slide, multiple shaded lounge areas with trees, a sunshade feature in the shallow end of the pool and additional interactive water features.

Minisa park pool: This pool will have renovated parking, a new lounge area with additional shade structures and trees, a water slide, basketball goal, submerged water bench under a sunshade, and a swim lane.

Orchard park pool: This renovated pool will feature climbing walls, a renovated slide, additional shade structures and lounge areas, trees and a basketball goal.

Planeview park: ‘Nautilus’ water playground. The newly constructed playground features both wet and dry interactive play options, focusing on innovation. The playground will update existing restrooms, parking, sidewalks, and picnic shelter and add shaded trees, limestone seating in a shallow pool with spray water features, artificial turf and concrete stepping stones, and interactive dry features.

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