Lawrence City Commission to consider increasing budget for city’s first splash park to $372,500

Renderings show the design for the proposed Burroughs Creek Splash Park.

After the cost of building the city’s first splash park came in higher than anticipated, city leaders will soon consider increasing the project’s budget to just over $370,000.

As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will consider approving a $372,500 contract with MegaKC for the Burroughs Creek Splash Park project. The project was initially budgeted to cost $200,000, and city staff say the additional funding will allow the splash pad to have a system that recirculates water, which would save the city money over the long run and be more environmentally sustainable, according to a memo to the commission.

Renderings show the 2,500 square-foot splash park would include eight water features and picnic tables with shade shelters. Neighborhood representatives from east Lawrence have long advocated for creating a splash park in the area to give children in the neighborhood a free outdoor activity during warm weather.

The splash park would be the city’s first, and the memo states that discussions with contractors during the proposal process identified that the initial $200,000 the city budgeted was not accurate for the scope of the city’s plans. To pay for the water-recirculating system, city staff are recommending that money that was not used after the commission decided against a project to extend a road near the dog park be reallocated to cover the additional $172,500.

The city staff memo states that having a water-recirculating system for the splash park would align with the commission’s commitment to environmental sustainability in its strategic plan. The splash pad with a recirculating system would use about 5,000 gallons of water per year, compared with 6.8 million gallons per year without the system. Cost wise, the splash pad with a recirculating system is estimated to cost $26,000 per year in annual water and maintenance costs, compared with $50,000 per year without the system, meaning that though more expensive initially, the design that includes the recirculating system would recoup that cost after seven years.

The 2017 Parks and Recreation Master Plan calls for the creation of four to six spray parks located in neighborhood areas to provide water activities for the summer as well as part of the spring and fall when pools aren’t operating. The Burroughs Creek Splash Park was identified as a priority in the plan based on public input and an administrative review, according to the city’s Capital Improvement Plan.

The City Commission will convene virtually at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday with limited staff in place at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St. Residents can participate in the meeting in person or virtually. A link to register for the Zoom meeting and directions to submit written public comment are included in the agenda that is available on the city’s website, lawrenceks.org.

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