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Mary Whitney suggested that the splash pad could replace the horseshoe pit area

A petition to install a splash pad at Wade Creek Park has gained a fair amount of traction. As of The News' press time on Tuesday, July 25, the petition has 154 online signatures.

Mary Whitney, who created the petition, believes it would be valuable to provide young children with a safe place to play in the water, particularly during the summer.

"It would be great to cool off during hot summer days," she said. "I can see a lot of happy kids playing in it. It would be a win-win."

Though splash pads have little to no standing water, they features nozzles, fountains and pipes that spray water. The experience is akin to running through a sprinkler.

There are many splash pads throughout the region, including one in Gresham.

Former Estacada Mayor Becky Arnold also thinks a splash pad closer to home is a good idea.

"Children can play, and you can see them," she said. "It's a lot safer than a pool. You don't have to worry about drowning."

Whitney agreed that a splash pad would create a safe and fun environment for water play.

"It's not a pool, but it's water," she said. "It's fun and safe. No lifeguard would be necessary."

Jocelyn Johnston, a local parent, added that "Wade Creek Park is a destination, and it would be even more of one with a splash pad."

Whitney suggested that the splash pad could replace the horseshoe pit area, which both she and Arnold believe is underutilized.

"Everything is already there," Arnold added. "There's a fence and a water hookup nearby."

Shirley Burke of the Estacada Parks and Recreation Commission also believes a splash pad could be a valuable addition to Wade Creek Park.

She agreed that the horseshoe pit "doesn't get used enough," but she would want to ensure that the neighboring sand play area remains if a splash pad is installed. She noted that a splash pad could also be included with the Wade Creek Park Phase Three projects, which are mainly focused in the area behind the Estacada Library.

"I think that would be the best place (for a splash pad)," Burke said.

She explained that initially, the Parks and Recreation Commission was hesitant about what a splash pad might cost, but the idea has been brought up in several meetings since then.

Burke added that she thinks the petition for the splash pad is valuable because "petitions get people involved."

Whitney plans to present the petition, available online at www.thepetitionsite.com/367/741/066/splash-pad-at-wade-creek-park, to both the Parks and Recreation Commission and the City Council.

Previously, citizens interested in bringing water recreation to Estacada formed the Watch our Waves group in the 1970s and 1980s. The group eventually disbanded, and the funds they raised were donated to the Estacada Community Foundation.

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