It’s been years since an aging pool was filled in at Taylor Street Park north of downtown. Now the town wants to restore aquatic fun to the site with a sprayground.
Wake Forest commissioners last week approved a grant application for one of the town’s four proposed spraygrounds. If the town gets the grant, a state parks and recreation fund will cover half of the $249,000 project at Taylor Street.
Parks and recreation director Ruben Wall said spraygrounds are a better value than full-fledged swimming pools, which can cost millions. At a sprayground, there’s no need to hire lifeguards for safety and fewer major repairs.
“It costs so much to build and maintain swimming pools,” Wall said. “Having spraygrounds costs a lot less, you don’t have to have staff, and you can open the pool quicker. As soon as it gets hot, you just turn on the system.”
Spraygrounds consist of a series of water features that douse users at the touch of a button. They’re particularly popular with children, but adults can use them to cool off too. “It’s the kid in all of us that gets out there and plays in the water,” Wall said.
Nearby Raleigh already has several spraygrounds of its own, including Millbrook Exchange Park, Lake Johnson Pool and Ridge Road Pool. Wake Forest’s only water-related attraction is the Holding Park Pool near the center of town. Another sprayground is planned there, and the Wake Forest Kiwanis Club announced plans earlier this year to raise $50,000 for that project.
Wall said he wants the town’s other three spraygrounds spread in areas distant from the pool. Taylor Street was selected as one of the first sites because residents missed having an easy way to cool off during the summer.
Before unanimously approving the grant application last week, town commissioners wondered whether the town could afford the $125,000 matching payment.
“Where is our money coming from to pay for this grant?” Mayor Vivian Jones asked.
Wall suggested the town could look for corporate sponsorships, and town manager Mark Williams assured leaders that the budget could handle the need.
Before the grant application is submitted in January, the town will hold public hearings and draw up plans for the sprayground. And while other towns will compete for the funds, Wall thinks the odds are good.
“This is the best year for this grant because there’s additional money,” he told commissioners.