The sounds of summer finally returned to two broken splash pads in Fresno.
Kids giggled and screamed as a giant bucket dumped cool, refreshing water on them. Water cannons quelled the heat as the temperature climbed into the high 90s.
Despite signs nearby that said it was closed, the splash pad was working at Inspiration Park in west Fresno.
Carol Spencer lives in the neighborhood and took her younger cousin to the park. She said the water returned Saturday. It had been off for at least three weeks.
“I didn’t like it,” Spencer said of the splash pad’s closure. “I think the city should have fixed it a little quicker because there are so many little kids out here and it’s really hot.”
However, there is some confusion at City Hall about whether the past few days reflect a permanent fix or just a test of the system.
Temporary or Permanent Fix?
Inspiration Park is located in councilwoman Esmeralda Soria’s district. She sent an email Monday to Mayor Lee Brand that asked for an update about the splash pad.
T.J. Miller, the city’s interim parks director, wrote back Tuesday.
“Regarding Inspiration splash pad, it’s still in the monitoring mode, the water should be flowing and kids can use it, our technicians are watching to make sure it doesn’t shut off,” Miller wrote in an email.
The ongoing problem has frustrated Soria’s office.
“There is a communication issue between our office and city administration,” said Terry Cox, Soria’s chief of staff.
Trash Clogs Splash Pad at Dickey
Meanwhile, city crews worked Monday to fix the broken splash pad at Dickey Playground downtown.
It had been down for at least a week, according the parks department’s Twitter account. City spokesman Mark Standriff blamed a broken pump.
As the water sprayed out of the ground, a maintenance worker pointed out another problem — people putting trash into the drain grates. The trash then was sucked into the pumps, causing the stoppage.
“It messes it up for the rest of the neighborhood,” said Robert, who says he likes to take his 9-year old son to Dickey. Robert, who asked that his last name not be used, showed a photo on his phone of children sitting in the grates to cool off.
Not even screws seemed to prevent the grates from opening, the city worker said. Thieves have stolen the screws because they’re made of brass.
Fresno High Pool Closed for a Week
Splash pads at Figarden Loop Park, Todd Beamer Park and the Mosqueda Center have been down at one time or another in the last month.
Problems also plagued the Fresno High School pool, another place set up for the public to beat the heat. The pool reopened Tuesday after being closed since June 17. School district officials said a chlorination system was to blame.
The city and Fresno Unified School District are in the third year of a “blue space” program in which the district opens its water facilities to the public.
Arias Wants Splash Pads Fixed More Quickly
Miguel Arias, who represents the downtown district where Dickey is located, has heard several complaints from residents about the splash pad’s closure.
“My expectation, which I realize may not be the city’s ability, is that it should be fixed in 24 hours,” Arias said when the park was still inoperable. “I don’t know why it’s so difficult to have replacement parts in stock.”
In the 2020 city budget to be voted Thursday, the parks department will see a slight increase to its $31.7 million budget.