Splash pad, not pool closer to being a reality

by Geoff Fox

Residents in Hancock have been asking for a new town pool since the old one was closed almost a decade ago, but one isn’t coming to Hancock just yet. Instead, Hancock officials discussed the possibility that there could be a splash pad coming to Hancock before a pool is constructed.

A splash pad has been part of the pool discussion since 2018 when the idea was first brought up as an alternative to a full-sized municipal pool.

Town officials received an update on where things stand on the possibility of a new pool in Widmeyer Park in the near future.

During the May 10 town meeting, Councilman David Kerns told town officials he had been in contact with a company called Aquatix about doing a splash pad, however they had not responded to him.

Aquatix splashpad image.

In the past, town officials have discussed adding a splash pad to the pool area whenever it is built.

Kerns said there were splash pads on the site that could be completed in as little as 30 days or as long as six months and suggested officials go to the company’s website to look at those pads.

If and when the town was to do a splash pad, Kerns suggested going with a concrete base after mentioning how rubber, like AstroTurf, can harbor germs.

There could be brush burns with the concrete, though, Kerns admitted.

Kerns added the company could take a space, put some shrubbery around it, put some benches in, and “kids just jump in there.”

With the set up, Kerns said there would be no standing water in the splash pad.

Kerns said there would be “pretty much” spray guns at the splash pad and the water would drain into the filter and be recycled for reuse.

“They do say that there is a little hiccup with that every once in a while, but primarily that you’re pretty much making sure your filters stay clean and cleaning your pad off every once in a while,” Kerns said.

The splash pad would connect to the pool if it were built as well, but Kerns said his thinking would have the splash pad incorporate first while getting everything for the pool straightened out.

There would then be a fence that could be opened up to the pool and the kids from splash pad to the pool.

When the pool is started, it would be zero entry, which is a requirement.

Mayor Tim Smith said they know what kind of pool they want, but they need to get moving on contacting a contractor with the information.

The design of the pool would be in the shape of an  “L” with the zero entry being the bottom part of the “L.” There would also lap lanes in the main part of the pool.

In a 2016 discussion for a new pool was first broached, a similar design was brought forth.

Because of that design, Town Attorney Ed Kuczynski told town officials it would meet the requirements needed for a grant from the state.

Kerns said he’d be on Aquatix to get information, but the town would still need to get bids from other companies.

Kerns said the best part about having a splash pad would be not having a lifeguard at the site.

In the past, the town has had issues in finding people to serve as lifeguards at the former town pool.

Kerns added should weather cause the pool to close, the splash pad could remain operational. If the sun comes out, they could still use the splash pad.

Even if a family were to have a picnic or event at one of the pavilions, they could still use the splash pad.

Kerns said it wouldn’t have to have the six-foot barrier, but there would still be a gate between the two entities.