Splash pad: Breaks, design problems lead to repeated repairs

Published 9:53 am Thursday, July 13, 2017

The splash pad at the Catfish Row Art Park should be up and running sometime Thursday, South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour said. The splash pad had been closed for maintenance for two weeks.

It was originally closed after the filter motor locked up, but was forced to remain closed when additional problems were discovered during repairs. Most of the repairs were completed Wednesday evening Monsour said, but an electrical part was needed that was expected to be installed Thursday morning.

“We replaced the motor and the old motor has the impellor on, which probably hadn’t been taken off in 12 or 13 years,” Graves said. “It was stuck on the shaft of the old motor. They tried to take it off, bent it and with that handmade brass impellor, there was no fixing it.”

Because the impellor had to be replaced, a new pump also had to be ordered. The delay in repairing the splash pad was due to the fact that the identical parts to those already in place are no longer manufactured. In order to make the necessary repairs, retrofitted parts had to be found and ordered.

“The impellor and the pump work together, they are made to work in one unit, and they didn’t make the impellor any more. You end up having to buy the pump and the impellor,” Graves said. “The original parts they no longer make, but they did call the company that made pump and got a replacement pump that’s supposed to work.”

Graves said from day one the splash pad has been a “nightmare” as far as maintenance because of the way it was designed.

“There were a lot of shortcuts taken with the splash pad when it was first built that have been devastating on maintenance, and devastating on the whole workings of the splash pad,” Graves said.

One of the ongoing issues is the way the pipes were installed, which makes it nearly impossible to just fix the pipe that breaks.

“The way they are set up, you’ve got a spaghetti bowl of pipes,” Graves said. “If the one on the bottom breaks, you’ve got to cut all of them to get to the bottom and then fix them all. We’ve had to do that numerous times.”

One of the corner spigots is permanently out of commission because the pipe broke under the concrete making it inaccessible. Graves said the only way they could repair it would be to jackhammer the concrete up, which he said would be a lengthy and expensive process.

Graves added that all of the electronics had to be replaced last year at a cost of $25,000, because the vault was placed underground and a mixture of moisture and chlorine gas caused it to corrode.

In alln Graves estimated that upwards of $50,000 worth of repairs have been made on the splash pad over the years.

Despite the ongoing issues, Graves said there have been no discussions about shutting the splash pad down for good.

“We’ve got too many people in the public that love that thing,” Graves said. “We have a lot of kids that go there, and when it is running, it serves an unbelievably good purpose. It gives their kids an opportunity to stay cool in the summer and have a big time.”

Monsour, who oversees the recreation department, said his immediate priority was making sure the splash pad functions for the remainder of the summer. Then, during the budget process, they will look into whether any changes need to be made.

“I wanted to make sure we got this part in and we get this thing running. I got in on the fifth and July 4 went in without having the splash pad,” Monsour said. “I wanted to get the immediate fix in to get that thing running for the summer. We are doing the budget process now. If we have to do something to alleviate the problem of having to fix it again, we’ll do so. Right now, I want to get it up and running.”

Monsour said he has not looked into the problem fully, as he’s been on the job for only two weeks, but it is among his priorities going forward.

“Every facet that we’ve got going for the city of Vicksburg needs to be up and running to its best ability,” Monsour said. “That is what we’re going to work for now. My eyes have been opened where we’ve got some problems here. That is one of my number one priorities to get done.”