By Brianna Kudisch
Mt. Olive residents have a new way to cool off during these final, hot and potentially downright humid days of summer. They can simply visit the new splash pad, located in Turkey Brook Park, the 3,825 square foot zero-depth aquatic facility filled with multiple sprinklers and spray features.
By far, the most popular attraction is the 300-gallon dump bucket.
Mayor Rob Greenbaum said, “[What] I like best about the splash pad is the smile on both kids and parents faces as the bucket spills. Almost unanimously, all have commented that the splash pad is a great success.”
Officially titled Pirate’s Cove at Mt. Playmore, the pad uses 3,000 gallons of recycled water daily. The water comes from a location adjacent to Mt. Playmore, in Turkey Brook Park, processed by dual filtration systems and an ultraviolet filtration system to ensure clean water supply.
The pad features 21 different spray attractions. In addition, there are areas outside of the “wet zone” that include three benches, 10 chairs and a pergola. Currently, the town is in the process of completing three unisex bathrooms/changing rooms and acquiring umbrellas for shaded areas.
“I can’t tell you how many grandparents I have seen at the splash pad enjoying the activity with their grandchildren,” said Greenbaum.
With construction started in April, the splash pad was completed the second week of July. The town spent a total of $880,000 on the project, coming in more than$20,000 under budget. The cost will be paid for through a municipal bond that will nominally affect the taxpayers.
The splash pad opens every day at 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and is available for free admission for both Mt. Olive residents and non-residents. Approximately 150 people can use the splash pad at one time.
“The pad has had tremendous attendance since opening. Feedback has been extremely positive from children and adults of all ages,” said Laura Harris, business administrator of Mt. Olive Township.
In lieu of opening Budd Lake Beach, splash pad saves the township a substantial amount of money. The cost for the splash pad comes from regular maintenance, totaling about $25,000 annually for both staff and maintenance.
The pad will officially close on Labor Day. Despite ideas floating around, the splash pad will not be transformed into a skating rink. Instead, the tennis courts nearby will be converted into a skating park for the winter, at no cost.
The pad has dealt with a few minor problems since opening. Technology issues, including heavy rains, clogged lines, and run-off mud have created small conflicts in the beginning. However, officials have worked to solve those issues with grass netting, ensuring the splash pad functions to its full capability once more.
Greenbaum reflected on the many benefits of building an aquatic center as functional and attractive as a splash pad.
“The fact that the splash pad is open to all residents and non-residents allows all to reflect on the marvelous facilities that we have here in town,” said Greenbaum.
He continued, “Others will come and shop in our stores and will think about relocating in Mt. Olive when they are choosing a town to live in based upon our facilities. That will help property values and benefits all taxpayers.”
With increased property value for the adults, aquatic fun for kids and families, and saved financial costs for the Mt. Olive township, it looks like the splash pad is here to stay, and that’s a good thing for everyone.