With the dog park at Austintown Township Park nearly finished, the park is turning its focus toward giving the youngest residents a place to cool off this summer. Part of the 2013 budget calls for the construction of a "splash pad" for children.
At last week's township meeting, Park Supervisor Todd Shaffer announced the construction of a 25-foot by 41-foot splash pad. The new attraction will be installed just west of the present playground and will feature 16 in-ground sprinklers and some above ground.
"We are looking at opening it from Memorial Day through Labor Day," Shaffer said.
The splash pad comes from My Splash Pad, a company that specializes in installing a safe and fun water play area for kids. The cost will be $34,000 and Shaffer said work on it could start in mid-April.
"We should be up and running by Memorial Day, I hope," Shaffer said.
The splash pad will have a safe surface for children to run through the sprinklers. It will have a self contained water tank that will recycle the water through a filter system, making it environmentally efficient.
Shaffer said the park staff will go through training on how to keep the ph and chlorine levels in check similar to a swimming pool. He said a swimming pool would have required close to a million dollar insurance policy, but the splash pad doesn't because there is no standing water.
As to hours of operation, Shaffer said it is still under discussion, but the plan is to keep it open seven days a week.
Another new item for Austintown was the leasing of office space at the Senior Center to the Mahoning County Sheriff's Dept. The lease would be for $1 per year and would allow the Senior Services office to be based out of the center. Since Kay Lavelle already works part time at the center, the office space would give her a location to meet seniors and help them get services they need.
"Now when there is a senior in crisis, they can come to the Senior Center instead of going downtown to the jail, which can be intimidating," Lavelle said. "Here at the center, it is more inviting for seniors."
On a different matter, trustees heard a report from Chairman Jim Davis regarding fireworks for the Fourth of July. He told those present that the Austintown Generational Enrichment Committee will be meeting on Feb. 4 to discuss bringing fireworks back to the township.
In other business:
Road Supervisor Mike Dockry said the road crew was up at 4 a.m. on Jan. 28 to handle icy roads and were done by 8 a.m. "When the school buses were ready to roll, there were no problems," he reported.
Senior Center Director Jim Henshaw announced a change in the weekly schedule. He said they are looking at opening at 5 p.m. on Thursday for an evening session to include Bingo. He said it comes from some members asking for evening programs and it would be done on a trial basis to see how it works out.