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Breaking ground – Splash pad dream will soon become a reality

From left, front, Glen Davis, Mayor Jim Staff, Emilee Waters, Allen Walston, Edie Baker, Lee Ann Allen (holding sign) and Judd Coley.

Atmore Rotary Splash Pad moved one step closer this week to becoming a reality.

The first shovels of soil were turned Tuesday, February 13, for the 2,000-square feet, water-themed playground facility that will include a paved parking lot and a covered seating area for parents and guardians.

The splash pad — which will be built by J.A. Dawson & Co., a Pelham-based designer and installer of playgrounds and recreational facilities — is a joint effort among the city of Atmore, Atmore Rotary Club and Atmore Lions Club. It will be constructed on the site, at the intersection of Trammell and Craig streets (across from Heritage Park), where a non-regulation tee-ball field stood until recently.

“We had hoped to get started today, but the ground is still a little wet,” J.A. Dawson’s John Kilpatrick said prior to the brief groundbreaking ceremony. “We should have materials in here tomorrow where we can get started.”

The facility, which is expected to open in late April or early May, carries a price tag of more than $150,000. Major donations have come from several sources, most notably Atmore Rotary, Atmore Lions, Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union, Alabama Resource Conservation & Development, and First National Bank and Trust.

“When you have a good project, it’s easy for people to get behind you,” said Allen Walston said. “That’s the fact. When it took off, the momentum was there.”
Walston, a member of the Atmore Rotary Club, has headed the project.

More than 50 people — including Mayor Jim Staff and city council members Chris Harrison and Chris Walker — showed up to witness the ceremony.

The portion of Trammell Street between Craig and School streets will be permanently closed, according to Staff, who added that the splash pad would help stem the flow of local dollars that are being spent in neighboring communities — like Bay Minette and Century, Fla. — that already have such facilities.

“That’s been my biggest thing from the start,” said the mayor. “Instead of our folks going somewhere else where there’s one of these, people will be coming to Atmore to use ours.”

Many of the direct beneficiaries of the splash pad are anxious to frolic in the water that will spurt, spew and pour from numerous outlets, including a train-themed section that is a reflection of the city’s heritage.

“They are ready for it right now,” laughed Janice Goodman of Davisville, who has two daughters and a son. “I have to tell them almost every day that they have to wait a little while longer, but they’re ready to get on their bathing suits and start splashing.”