PALMETTO -- Construction is almost finished on a new, $760,000 splash park at Lincoln Park, slated for a festive grand opening next month.
Lincoln Park Splashground will cover 3,500 square feet and will boast 21 water features, along with a new restroom, equipment and pavilion, plus a staff of two, according to Bill O’Shea, Manatee County community development project manager.
Admittance to the splash park, at the intersection of U.S. 41 North and 17th Street East, will be free and open to the public, O’Shea said.
“I think that’s going to be really good for our residents,” said Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant.
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She noted that Palmetto lacks a public swimming pool, although such a facility ranked high on a list of recreational features the area most needs in a recent study commissioned by the YMCA.
The Splashground is being built with grant money provided through the Community Development Block Grant program, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, O’Shea said.
Construction began in February, and is slated for completion by the end of this month with the grand opening probably during the third week of August, said O’Shea.
The county will bear the cost of staffing the facility, said Cheri Coryea, Manatee County director of neighborhood services. “This particular project will open, but we’re just barely being able to provide staffing for it,” she said, noting that the county is constrained by budget cuts.
The cost of staffing and maintenance at the park will be about $30,000 annually, she said.
Among the park’s water features will be geysers, jets, interactive equipment, and various types of sprinklers and aerators, O’Shea said.
“Splashgrounds are a good way for kids to get used to being around water, without actually being in it,” said Coryea.
The park already includes basketball courts and fields where soccer and football are played.
The Splashground will only be open during summer months, noted Coryea.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.