First weekend a busy one
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
The ribbon had hardly been snipped last Friday (May 18) when more than a dozen youngsters and a few adults became the first patrons of Atmore’s newest recreational facility.
Organizers of the community’s splash pad had announced that the public would be allowed to test the new water-themed playground at about 3 p.m., following the 2 p.m. ceremonial ribbon cutting and a period of socializing.
But officials were apparently as anxious to see how the new mini-park would be received as the children were to splash under its waters, and by 2:15 a group of toddlers and a few scattered children of other ages were already thoroughly soaked.
“Let’s turn the water on,” Mayor Jim Staff said just moments after he and Allen Walston, who spearheaded the fundraising effort that brought the splash pad into existence, had delivered brief remarks to a crowd of about four dozen.
Besides the earliest-arriving kids and their parents, several members of Atmore Rotary Club, Atmore Lions Club and representatives of other sponsors of the playground were on hand to see the culmination of a project that had taken less than nine months to complete.
“This project came up in discussion about eight months ago, and this is the perfect example of how fast community leaders and organizations came together for a common cause, to really give something back to this community,” Walston said. “I want to give a special thanks to the organizations and businesses who made this possible – members of the Atmore Rotary Club and Atmore Lions Club, Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Gulf Coast RCD, Gulf Winds Credit Union, First National Bank and United Bank. Without these donors, what we’re doing today wouldn’t be possible.”
Walston also marveled at the furious pace at which city crews worked to put the finishing touches on the 2,000-square-feet splash pad, especially during the five days prior to the opening.
Construction of the pad itself was done by J.A. Dawson and Co., a Pelham-based installer of such playgrounds, but city employees — including firefighters — placed sod around the facility and took care of other last-minute details as the clock ticked toward the opening.
“I’ve been watching the mayor and the city this last week, and they pulled off a miracle,” Walston said. “They did an excellent job throughout the whole project, and I want to thank them.”
As the afternoon progressed, more parents arrived to give their offspring a chance to frolic in the water that squirted from a train, a railroad crossing sign, a giant flower, a frog, a ladybug and several ground-based sprayers.
One of the most popular park features was an apparatus upon which three cones slowly filled with water, then dumped their contents onto those below.
Staff said he was proud to see such a concerted effort put forth for a community project.
“It’s just great to see this community come together like this,” the mayor said “This is something we’ve been needing for quite a while.”
The excitement of Friday carried over into the weekend, as several dozen kids of all ages enjoyed the splash on Saturday, and dozens more made avail of it on Sunday.
News photo by Brandon Beachy