Splash pad suffers winter damage

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The splash pad at Kingston Park in Chatham had significant winter damage to its underground piping system. Most, if not all of it, has been repaired.

Apparently Old Man Winter isn’t a huge fan of splash pads.

Deb Veccia, supervisor of parks and horticulture in Chatham, attributes the harsh winter as the cause of some problems at the Kingston Park splash pad.

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The splash area was closed for several days last week as staff tracked down leaks and made a number of repairs.

“We had such a hard winter. The splash pad is kind of a floating pad of cement,” Veccia said, adding there isn’t a lot of room for the piping below. “I think the pad moved and cracked a number of pipes underneath.”

She said the shifting of the pad caused other issues as well, as seven of the spray heads on the misting garden cracked, and the catch basins below where the large water bucket soaks giggling children every few minutes also had issues.

“Where the dump apple is, there are two catch basins. The pad actually separated from one catch basin, so there was water getting under there,” Veccia said. “We sealed all that up.”

To get an idea of how unforgiving and deep the frost was this year, she said a water line to one of the pavilions – one that is buried five feet underground – cracked as well.

Veccia said the pad may be operational, but staff are still looking for leaks.

“We got what we think are all the repairs done, but sometimes you don’t see a leak until it’s up and running for a period of time,” she said.

The water cannons – essentially large squirt guns – are still problematic, Veccia said.

“They’re working, but we’re not 100% sure we solved the problem.”

Veccia estimated repairs this spring cost $7,000. She’s glad they are out of the way before school’s out.

“We’d rather get it fixed right now than to have it down during the summer when the kids are out,” she said.

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