Pantego hoping Splash Pad will bring refreshing change to township

The Pantego Economic Development Corporation received a $75,000 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to help renovate Bicentennial Park

  • The proposed Splash Pad at Pantego's Bicentennial Park would provide visitors opportuities to stay cool in four splash zones. (Photo: Adventure Playground Systems, Inc.)
    The proposed Splash Pad at Pantego's Bicentennial Park would provide visitors opportunities to stay cool in four splash zones. (Photo: Adventure Playground Systems, Inc.)
  • Adventure Playground Systems, Inc., has constructed approximately 50 similar splash pads around the state, including several in the Metroplex. (Photo: Adventure Playground Systems, Inc.)
    Adventure Playground Systems, Inc., has constructed approximately 50 similar splash pads around the state, including several in the Metroplex. (Photo: Adventure Playground Systems, Inc.)
Ken Costlow

If all goes according to plan, the citizens of Pantego – and the children in particular – will have a special way of keeping cool this summer.

Pending approval from the State of Texas of the working plans, designs and specific water, electricity and filtration requirements, the Town of Pantego and Adventure Playground Systems, Inc., of Houston will begin construction work on a Splash Pad in the town’s Bicentennial Park.

The Splash Pad will be a 1,200-square foot play area that will allow users to keep cool by spraying jets of water on themselves in four spray zones.

The concept will be similar to ones in use at Randol Mill Park and the Bad Koenigshofen Family Aquatic Center.

Adventure Playgrounds has constructed approximately 50 splash pads around the state, including several in the Metroplex.

A company spokesperson said that many of the splash pads are built at day care centers, but a like number have been constructed at places like Bicentennial Park, as well.

Shortly after the proposal for the splash pad was presented to the Pantego Economic Development Corporation (PEDC) last October, four playground construction companies made bid proposals to the PEDC to build the splash pad.

Adventure Playgrounds won out over bids from Fun Abounds Playgrounds, Vortex and Heartland Parks and Recreation. Adventure Playgrounds uses Rand Engineering to do the actual construction work.

PEDC president Daniel Lakey said the organization received a $75,000 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) as part of an agreement that the PEDC would make sure that the park and splash pad would remain in a good state of repair.

As part of that assurance, the PEDC disclosed plans to divide the project into three phases, with the Splash Pad to be the first phase. The other two phases include opening up a sand volleyball court and, eventually, a butterfly garden.

“We are extremely excited about the grant,” Lakey said. “We’re hoping to revitalize the park and enhance the town’s ability to attract visitors. We want to give our kids a cool place to play and hope our citizens can enjoy it for many years.

“Having a safe environment for our kids and citizens to use is paramount for maintaining a successful [township].”

Lakey said the proposed butterfly garden was especially enticing to the TPWD as a means of providing a natural environmental feature to the park.  He added the TPWD told them they had three years to use the grant money.

Bicentennial Park, located on Smith Barry Road, opened in 1976 with a fountain inside the park that visitors used to splash around in, but the lack of a proper filtration system forced its removal.

"Having a splash pad will be a way to recreate some of those memories, but in a much safer and cleaner way than with a fountain or swimming pool," Pantego City Manager Matt Fielder said. "And having the butterfly garden in the future is an amenity that people of all ages will be able to enjoy." 

The PEDC has already begun some of the renovation work that the state would require for the park to open the splash pad, including painting, electrical work, setting up a new sign at the entrance to the park, adding canopied shade structures and seating near the splash pad.

Fielder said the Town of Pantego adopted a master plan for renovating Bicentennial Park several years ago, and the splash pad was among the improvements that drew the most interest from the citizen input.

According to regulations from the State of Texas, Splash Pads and other similar recreational areas must comply with the applicable construction, alteration, storage and treatment requirements set forth by the International Plumbing Code (IPC), wiring regulations covered by the National Electrical Code, and building standards covered by the International Building Code (IBC).

Designed water systems used for Splash Pads would not include rain harvesting, recycled water or swimming pools as defined by the IPC and IBC.

The original contract approved with Adventure Playgrounds on Feb. 8 had a price tag of $131,000, but a revised invoice submitted on March 1 listed the total at $123,550 and a deposit of $64,250.

The difference came in part from the removal of a $6,000 UV Light Secondary Disinfectant package.

"We substitued an ozone generator for the UV filter," Fielder explained. "There is a filter still there, but the ozone generator is less expensive and saves us a little money."

Indications from Adventure Playgrounds were that the time frame for construction to begin would be from a month to a month-and-a-half after the deposit has been received.

Lakey said the PEDC is hoping to have construction completed and the Splash Pad opened in early June.