Local parents work to bring splash pad fun to Poulsbo

Local moms are hard at work, in hopes of bringing a splash pad to Poulsbo.

A splash pad or spray park is a recreation area that is often found as an alternative for summertime water fun at a pool.

The idea of developing a splash pad in Poulsbo came from friends and teammates Diana Frazier and Lindsey Kravitz. Frazier grew up in Poulsbo and often takes her children to the splash pad park in Edmonds. Kravitz moved to Poulsbo from Tacoma and says one of the things she and her kids have missed the most are the splash pads.

“I had been complaining about there not being one here and how hard it is to go to Tacoma and Edmonds and that’s when we started talking about how to get one here,” Kravitz said.

The duo first brought the idea to the Poulsbo Parks and recreation committee in April during a public comment period.

“Some of them [committee members] didn’t know what a splash pad was so we gave them an overview,” Kravitz said.

Once everyone was up to speed, committee member Edie Lau recommended that Frazier and Kravitz get in touch with the folks that run the splash pads in Tacoma and come back to the following meeting in June with information on seasonal operations, costs and maintenance required to maintain such an attraction.

At the next meeting in June, Kravitz outlined a six page summary that covered everything from types of splash pads and their costs to fundraising events.

“I think they were a bit surprised by the presentation, they even extended the time of the public comment period,” Kravitz said.

The Parks and Recreation committee noted that there were other major park projects going into place. Committee member Mary Carter noted that many citizen groups have taken on fundraising for projects such as a new skate park and creating handicap accessible playground improvements at Raab Park, which left a splash pad low on the priority list.

Despite those concerns the Parks and Rec committee agreed to place the splash pad on the fall project list.

In their presentation Frazier and Kravitz outlined the types and sizes of splash pad parks and their costs.

There are two types of splash pads: fresh water and recycled or treated water.

“Fresh water systems are less expensive to implement upfront because there is no water treatment system or underground tank, but the ongoing maintenance costs can be quite expensive because of the cost of water,” Kravitz said.

Due to the ongoing maintenance costs that would create difficulties in budgeting, Kravitz ruled out a fresh water option in cost estimates received from Rain Deck, a possible vendor.

“One of my biggest goals in receiving these quotes was to make sure they are as ‘turn key’ as possible, so that we minimize the possibility of any hidden costs,” Kravitz said. She also noted that while she included smaller splash pad sizes in the quotes provided to the committee, she has never seen one that was less than 2,000 square feet.

In seeking funding for this project Kravitz has examined several avenues, particularly fundraising and grants.

“I found that most of the grants can only be applied for in even years, after which there’s an extensive review and approval process. Making the next round of grant applications starting in 2020 with contracts and actual funding not being doled out until July 2021 meaning we wouldn’t have a splash pad until spring 2022,” Kravitz said.

Kravitz and Frazier said they would like to see a Poulsbo splash pad become a reality while their children are still young enough to enjoy it.

“I’m not sure if I can start this effort right away, or if there are certain requirements that must first be met. I’m also not sure if I need permission from the City of Poulsbo to create a GoFundMe campaign, so that funds can be acquired and kept safely. Or if not that, maybe the city has a preferred method for acquiring funds,” Kravitz said.

Once the preferred method of fundraising is decided, Frazier and Kravitz have several ideas, from social media campaigning to community members purchasing engraved bricks to be laid around the splash pad.

Ken Park is a reporter with Kitsap News Group. Ken can be reached at kpark@soundpublishing.com.