Some Delaware City Council members are concerned about the Delaware Community Center YMCA and sports fields budget, and whether constructing a splash pad would be a practical use of levy funds.
Delaware council members continued discussions this week on installing a splash pad in the City, but Councilman Joe DiGenova and Vice Mayor Windell Wheeler expressed concerns with how the project’s budget is faring and if change orders have increased the costs at all.
“I’m concerned about facing change orders,” said DiGenova, who served as a liaison when the city hall and justice center were both built. “We have to be aware of any change orders in the facility.”
“Contractors love change orders,” he said. “The bids come in low, and that’s how they make money.”
Councilman Andrew Brush also requested an articleized list on all costs associated with the Community Center and sports fields improvements.
Brush expressed worries that the recreation steering advisory committee was eyeing field improvements that might cost more than the City had funding available and that Council should be approving all articles based on recommendations made by the committee.
City Manager Tom Homan said he would bring a report back to council in the next few weeks.
Whether a Delaware City splash pad will be constructed remains unknown, but Mike Hamer, the City’s aquatics coordinator offered a short presentation on the different types of splash pads available and associated prices. Depending on the size and type, a splash pad could costs anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000; once constructed, maintenance costs could be anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000 annually, Hamer said.
If moving forward, the City would decide on using one of two possible filtration systems, the city water system or a recycled water system. Using the City’s water system would provide more features for the money and have minimal employee cost, but has a higher water usage, could have potential drainage issues, Hamer said. The recycled water system would use less water, but wouldn’t offer as many features and have higher upfront and operating costs.
Although funds aren’t specifically set aside for a splash pad, the concept is one that has always been a part of the design discussions for the Delaware Community Center YMCA, Homan told council. Members of the recreation steering building committee placed the idea on a priority list to be considered if the building field projects came in under budget.
Council decided to reconvene the recreation steering building committee to make a recommendation to the parks and recreation advisory board, as well as council on whether the city should commit to the ongoing operational and maintenance costs of a splash pad.
Council woman Lisa Keller who served on the recreation steering building committee said the splash pad was always conceived at one site at the recreation center, not smaller separate ones around the city, which was offered as a suggestion in Hamer’s report.
Extra space was even allotted in the Community Center’s mechanical room for additional pumps and a filtration center, so a splash pad could be added as a feature to the outdoor pool deck in the future, Homan said.
Council members first discussed the idea of a splash pad in January. Delaware Councilman Chris Jones told council that he received phone calls and e-mails from citizens about installing a splash pad, then met with City Manager Tom Homan to discuss the likelihood of the project.
At that time, the Moms Offering Moms Support (MOMS) Club of Delaware vocalized its support on having a splash pad installed in the City, so area mothers wouldn’t have to travel 25 minutes to Powell’s similar structure. Several locations were discussed at that meeting, including at the Community Center on Houk Road, Blue Limestone Park on King Avenue, Bicentennial Park on Park Avenue or Smith Park on Troy Road.