It may have taken six years, but Kevin Story’s plan for summertime fun in Madisonville will become a reality this year.
Earlier this month, the Madisonville City Council gave its approval to begin construction on a splash pad, which will be built at Lake Madison Park. The cost is expected to be about $254,000.
Story said he’d like to have the pad up and running by mid-June.
The pad will be a roughly 90 foot by 75 foot area with above-ground spray features. It also will have a dry area around it to prevent erosion of the ground around the pad, and covered areas for people to sit while their children play.
The pad itself is cushioned to prevent injuries.
“I wanted this for the summertime, school’s-out there’s-nothing-here-for-the-kids town this was,” Story said. “I’ve been a resident her for 14 years, and an employee at the city for 10 years, and during that time, there’s really been nothing here for kids to do.”
Story said he came up with the idea traveling around Texas and viewing parks in other towns.
“We discussed pools, and they’re great, but they have their problems,” he said. “Liability issues certainly.”
While there are soccer and baseball fields at the park for summertime sports, there’s not a whole lot else to do once those seasons are over, Story said. Kids won’t be playing those sports much once it gets hot, either.
“It’s an exciting time, and this is something we’ve wanted to do for our community for a long time,” said City Manager Camilla Viator.
The pad will be installed between the road to the lake and the lake house, on the left as you enter the park, Story said. There are plans to make that road to the lake a parking lot, since there’s little parking in the area.
“There will be rules that will have to be followed,” he said. “We want to take care of this so it lasts a long time.”
Currently, Story said the park will be open from June to September, to correspond with school being out. Hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to around dark — 7 or 8 p.m. There will be no admission charge.
Future plans include expansion of features and reservations for events, but for now, Story wants everyone to be able to enjoy it.
He also said that another park will be built on the west side of town near the old Marian Anderson school, to further give kids in Madisonville areas of recreation.
“When I was a kid, I would go mow yards just to get money to go to the pool (in the summer),” he said. “This is just a start. But it will get bigger.”