The days of bathing suit-clad kids standing forlorn around a dry downtown splash pad waiting for trails of water to emerge from the concrete are over.
At least that’s what the city of Grand Junction and Downtown Development Authority hope will happen now that they’ve set a schedule of hours of operation for the feature.
The splash pad will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday with breaks when the water will be off from 11 a.m. to noon, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. The water will stay on from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends.
The DDA and the city had been turning the water on and off throughout weekday hours at the splash pad this summer. Patrons who frequent the splash pad on the northwest corner of North Fifth and Main streets complained that they never knew when the fountain water would be on or how long it would stay on, which made planning trips downtown difficult.
Some downtown businesses, meanwhile, contended that the number of people at the attraction led to noise issues and sidewalk crowding, while the city noted constant use of the treated water by numerous people made it difficult to keep water quality at healthy levels.
Ways to handle staggered hours for the splash pad have been under review throughout the summer, according to City Parks and Recreation Department Director Rob Schoeber. After speaking with people at the Downtown Development Authority, talking to downtown business owners and listening to public comments, Schoeber said he hopes the new schedule will provide a balanced solution for businesses, customers and water-treating chemicals.
“We wanted to keep it somewhat sporadic so we didn’t have a large influx of people. The hourlong breaks help the water recover,” Schoeber said. “Hopefully, it will be more accommodating to people.”
Temporary signs with the hours have been posted around the splash pad, and permanent signs are in the works. Hours also are posted on the city’s website at gjcity.org and on the Grand Junction City Information and Downtown Grand Junction Facebook pages.