Benton addition set to make a splash

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published June 16, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated June 14, 2013 at 4:18 p.m.
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Nick Hillemann

John Eckart, Benton Parks and Recreation director, is shown in front of the Splashpad, a zero-depth water play area set to open soon at Tyndall Park in Benton.

— Residents of the Benton area will soon have a place to chill out this summer.

The Splashpad, a children’s play area with water spraying throughout the site, is set to open in the next couple of weeks, said John Eckart, Parks and Recreation director for the city of Benton.

“The [Benton] Parks Commission started the process in January,” Eckart said. “It just went from there.”

Eckart said there has been a growing trend in splash pads across the nation, and a survey early in 2013 showed that the city of Benton had an interest in having this option in the summer.

Benton hasn’t had a city pool since the 1970s, and Eckart said he is excited that city residents will have a new way to cool off this summer with the Splashpad.

“It’s going to add diversity to the park,” Eckart said. “It’s a place where [residents] can go for free.”

The Splashpad will be in Tyndall Park, along Sevier Street in Benton.

“Construction started on the [Splashpad] the last week of May,” Eckart said.

The contracting company, RJR Enterprises out of Rogers, has built about 50 of these Splashpads, Eckart said.

The $270,000 project is being funded by a quarter-cent sales tax that funds parks projects and operations, Eckart said.

“A lot of people haven’t ever seen a Splashpad,” Eckart said. “It’s something new and exciting for our city. I think it’s going to be a good thing.”

The park will pump about 70 gallons of water per minute through the various pipes and fountains the Splashpad features.

Children who visit the park can have fun with just a push of a button in the middle of the 400-square-foot play area.

Although the water area is geared toward children, Eckart said, there will be no age limit on people who can participate.

“It’s a four-minute cycle when a child pushes a button to start it,” Eckart said.

The water will have zero depth, so no lifeguards will be staffed for the new play area, Eckart said.

Work is still being done on the parking lot and area surrounding the new park feature, Eckart said, but the city tentatively wants to open the Splashpad on June 21, the first day of summer, and have it remain open until Labor Day weekend in September.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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