CHUBBUCK — The Stuart Park Splash Pad in Chubbuck is being well used after opening for the season on June 18, according to Mayor Kevin England.
“It’s been very popular this year,” he said. “But we’ve put up a protocol asking people to use it a little differently than in the past.”
The city has posted guidelines for the splash pad that include efforts to maintain social distancing, no children on the splash pad without adult supervision, performing regular hand-washing and staying home for anyone who’s been sick.
And people with underlying conditions are asked to stay home.
Further, the city disinfects the park’s restrooms at least once a day, he said.
Chubbuck is also limiting the number of people at individual tables to just four.
“At the times I’ve been over there it looks to me like they were doing very well,” England said.
He says they’ll try to keep the splash pad open for the public until Labor Day, though that could change.
“We don’t put a date on it,” England said. “We kind of let the weather decide that.”
The city doesn’t keep an official tally of the number of people who use the splash pad over the summer.
Personnel drop by from time to time to check on the site, but it doesn’t seem overcrowded, he said.
“I haven’t seen anything there that concerns me,” England said. “There haven’t been too many people.”
And people who use it seem to like it. When the weather gets warm, it’s a place where people can go to cool off, he said.
Once school opens the usage dies down substantially, he said. But it’s a nice option to have available.
“We used to run through the sprinkler,” England said.
He says the feedback from area residents about the splash pad on social media is overwhelmingly positive.
“They love it. They’ve absolutely loved it,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people that looked for it and were glad we put it in.”
Meanwhile, the idea of creating an aquatic center in Chubbuck, which was explored during a public meeting in 2018, is still alive.
“There’s still some discussion,” England said. “It certainly hasn’t died. But we recognize that with some of the needs of the city, that took kind of a back-burner.”
Chubbuck City Council member Melanie Evans said there have been some meetings recently and efforts to get some energy going again on the idea.
“What we want to do is not something that Chubbuck can do on its own,” Evans said. “There’s just not a way for us to fund something like that. So it’s going to require some partnerships.”
She said those possibilities include partnering with other counties, area businesses or a combination of organizations.
But such a project is estimated to cost $16 million to $40 million. That’s a high hurdle. She said the city’s hopeful that something could eventually be worked out, but at this point there’s nothing solid.
“It just kind of depends on what kind of funding you can get and what things you want in it and where that ends up,” she said.
It’s definitely a big project. And that’s why Chubbuck can’t do it on its own, according to Evans.
“We just don’t have enough tax base,” she said.