Splash pad back open at the Art Park

Published 10:35 am Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Vicksburg’s new splash pad at the Art Park at Catfish Row came a live Tuesday night with a ribbon cutting, 60s and 70s rock music and the giggles of children playing in the water.

The ceremony and the pad’s opening was attended by about 100 people, including a large number of children, who sat along the perimeter of the splash pad in anticipation of getting wet.

“This is great; I’m excited,” said Laura Kidder as she watched her son William play among the jets of water that shot up from hidden spouts. “My son’s been waiting for this the entire summer.”

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William wasn’t the only one.

“We have been waiting for this moment for an entire year, and we are excited that we are finally going to get to enjoy one more amenity in our downtown,” said Pablo Diaz, Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce executive director.

“I want to thank the citizens in Vicksburg for having the patience for letting us do this,” South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour said as he outlined the history leading to the opening of the new pad.

The old pad, he said, “Had some serious issues; we had more water coming out from under it than on top. We knew we had to deal with it, we made the decision to go completely the other way.”

He said the pad has a free-flowing water system, which will save the city money. He said the water jets will operate in 4-minute cycles, and can be reactivated by a child pressing a button in the center of the pad.

Monsour said the splash pad will have another feature in the fall — a water and light show synchronized to music. He said the equipment and software for the show will be installed at a later date.

“It will be unique and something Vicksburg can be proud of,” he said.

The splash pad, he added, “Can be something Vicksburg can be proud of for the next 20-25 years, because it is something that will be around for that long; something that’s going to last.

“Now your children will have something that’s safe, something that’s beautiful and something the people who come to Vicksburg and visit here and look across the rest of the state will say we have something very unique here.”

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said the board was looking forward to the pad having a long life.

“And if we can get longevity out of it, then hopefully all of you citizens will say that we did it right this time and that we did it the way that it should be,” he said.

After Monsour, Mayfield and Diaz, assisted by two children, cut the ribbon to officially open the pad, the water rose up and children and some adults crowded the area to get wet.

“This is awesome; it’s great,” said Sherry Morace as she watched her grandchildren play in the water.

Jessica Mathes was drying one of her children off as they prepared to head home.

“I think that it’s awesome they were able to rebuild it,” she said. “I’m elated to see that’s it’s back.”

Her son Hayden, 12, who helped the officials cut the ribbon, called the new pad “better than the last one. It’s great.”

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved replacing the previous splash pad, which for 15 years was a popular attraction, because of problems with its piping system and pumps and fan motors.

The board in May authorized Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to sign an agreement with Planet Recess of Baker, Louisiana, to build the new splash pad at the park for $534,117.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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