Officials mull location for Dover splash park

DOVER — The city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Enhancement Committee is still planning to construct a splash park in Dover within the next two years.

The $300,000 project was in the capital investment plan included in this year’s budget.

“We hope, in the next year or two, to have a clear location so we can start the design and construction phase,” said Anne Marie Townshend, the city’s Parks and Recreation director.

Splash pads typically consist of multiple spray jets, and above ground spray features. They are becoming a more attractive alternative to swimming pools in urban areas.

The splash park offers water-based recreation without the costs of lifeguards and have little standing water, eliminating most chances of drowning accidents, officials said.

This plan has been in the works since 2013 after the Parks, Rec committee approved a recommendation to reach out to the public to see where Dover’s citizens would want the park.

The city determined the need for water recreation after the North Dover Athletic Pool was removed and swimming became restricted at Silver Lake.

A splash park was recommended as an option without the costs and liabilities that would be associated with operating a public pool.

“We used to have places for people to swim but once we stopped there hasn’t been a place for people to go,” Ms. Townshend said. “It’s important that we provide this for the residents in our city, especially for those hot summer days.”

A possible location is where the Dover Parks and Recreation Building once stood at 1210 White Oak Road in Dover.

The building was demolished last year after it became in need of an investment to maintain functionality.

The city has moved staff offices to the John W. Pitts Center at Schutte Park.

Another option is Silver Lake, Ms. Townshend said.

“It became clear we needed to do a citywide look to figure out the best location for the splash park,” Ms. Townshend said. “Our initial plan was Schutte Park, but that isn’t the best location for that.

“Based on a recreational need assessment Dover Park or Silver Lake are the ideal locations. We need to determine which location is best for the residents.”

The possible city park locations have their own advantages and disadvantages. Silver Lake doesn’t have a water line into it but would be closer for walkers.

Schutte Park has other recreation options other than the splash park but could be too far of a walk for some and could attract non-city residents instead, Ms. Townshend said.

“Through our recreational need assessment walk shed maps it shows how large the area is and the population,” Ms. Townshend said.

“The Dover Park and Silver Lake is accessible as where people can walk to, as the access is important to us.”

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