Dayton opens new water park

Daniel Lopez ducks under a mushroom-shaped wall of water, one of the features at Dayton's new water park at Parker Park, as Adalynn Kilough (left) and Sammy Juett (right) play in the water above him.

By Vanesa Brashier,

The children of Dayton are set to have a cool summer with the opening of a new splash pad. Located at Parker Park on the 1200 block of N. Winfree, the water feature was years in the making, said Mayor Jeff Lambright at a grand opening ceremony on Saturday, April 27.

“We have to thank our Parks Board for their vision and approving it to go here,” Lambright said. “Kimberly [Judge] and Tami [Green with the city’s planning department], and I have been working on this for years. Everything has finally come together.”

The funding for the $122,000 splash park came from a certificate of obligation bond passed in 2018. City Manager Theo Melancon said a splash pad was one of three of the most-suggested features in developing the city’s Master Parks Plan.

“One of the things that kept coming up again and again while building our Master Parks Plan was the idea of a splash pad. We went ahead and started the process knowing it was one of the highest-rated amenities,” Melancon said.

The runners-up were a dog park and a skateboard park.

“Now that we have adopted the Master Parks Plan, our goal is to look at all our parks. There might not be splash pads at the other parks but there may be other features people want,” the city manager said.

The contractor for the splash pad was Kraftsmans Play of Dallas, Texas. Pergolas with bench seating were added to both ends of the splash pad where parents can sit as their children play. Brock Construction built the pergolas and benches. Dayton Parks Board President David Parker gave a $5,000 donation to the city to fund one of the pergolas.

Picnic tables and benches throughout the park were made by Tony McNeese.

The splash pad will be open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., though the city is considering extending the hours in the future. A push button turns on the water on a four-minute cycle.

Melancon said the goal is to keep the water park open from spring until October or November.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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