ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Coal Street Spray Park?

As anyone who visits this Internet haunt of mine has to know by now, my grandchildren and I love to explore this city and this valley by way of bicycles.

When we first push off of the curb out front, very rarely is their a plan in place. Or should I say, a route. Rather, we saddle up and where the roads may take us, or where the portable police scanner leads us is anyone's guess.

While out and about, there are tried and true attractions that the kids are always willing to visit time and again. They love to visit heretofore unexplored playgrounds. They always enjoy being at the river's edge. The pursuit of another hoddog joint never does end. Lunch on top of the dike at the Forty Fort airport is always a big plus. But like their parents before them, they never get tired of frolicking in the fountain in the middle of Public Square on a hot day.

Which leads me to the following news tidbit...

Splashing-good times the goal for Coal Street Park in 2011

The excerpt: WILKES-BARRE – Councilman Tony Thomas Jr. would like to see some unfrozen water at Coal Street Park for children to enjoy during the summer months.

Thomas said Wednesday that he’d like to see a splash pool for kids installed at the recently renovated park by the time school lets out in 2011. The park already is home to a new ice rink.
According to Thomas, the city can install a splash facility, using unfiltered water, at Coal Street next year for about $150,000 that will accommodate 100 to 200 kids at a time.

“The kids always used to have water at Coal Street Park until the swimming pool was shut down,” Thomas said. “A splash pool will provide a place for kids to get cooled off and enjoy themselves.”

For a smallish city (six square miles), Wilkes-Barre is blessed with some fine parks. But what we really lack as a city is aquatic amenities. Sorry, but one swimming pool for 42,000 residents just isn't cutting it.

While I take no issue with the financially prudent decision to scrap the long-neglected pool at Coal Street Park, I also am on the record as saying it needed to be replaced in one form or another. And there is no more centralized location for a new and improved water amenity than at the new park at Coal Street.

Thomas and Butch Frati, the city’s director of operations, visited parks in Allentown to see the splash pools there. Thomas said Frati was skeptical about the idea until he heard what the Allentown officials had to say.

“They told us that splash pools are far more popular with the kids than swimming pools,” Thomas said. “And they are much less expensive to operate. Butch had his doubts before we went there, but he was overwhelmed.”

Frati said he went down open-minded, but had concerns about the concept.
“Once I saw it, I was very impressed,” Frati said. “I think it would be a terrific attribute to Coal Street and now we have to see how it will fit into the plans.”

Honestly, I want this to happen. And I would say unto the administration of my city to make this one happen.

While the new ice rink at Coal Street--home of the Penguins-- is a wonderfully unique attraction throughout this entire area, most toddlers don't lace up and look to cross-check anyone in to the boards.

And within throwing distance of this newly enhanced park are two housing projects, one of which I once resided in, and one in which I've done extensive work. And if there's one point I've had pounded into me over the course of my many years is that the poorest of the poor kids don't have much.

Now, don't be scared off by that fleeting reference to poor kids, which too often conjures up images of people with permanent tans. If you follow that link above, you'll see that a few comments attached to that Times Leader article were of the covert racism variety.

Be they white, black, brown or blended, little kids like the water. And even though a river runs through it, Wilkes-Barre needs more water.


*The pictures were taken at the Buck Boyle Spray Park in Allentown, PA.

1 comment:

D.B. Echo said...

I believe it was you, some time ago, who pointed out that children were being aggressively dissuaded from playing in the fountains on Public Square because they were bl- I mean, because of concerns about potential contamination from unchlorinated, untreated water. Yet the city seemed to forget about that concern when it smiled benevolently at children playing in the sewage-contaminated Susquhanna River during the River Common's grand opening. So have those original concerns gone away? And will children still be shooed away from the fountains on Public Square?