WILKES-BARRE — With kids running around the playground at Coal Street Park on a warm and sunny Monday, the city’s heralded splash pad was bone dry.
Parents at the park were told the water attraction is broken — again.
“It’s getting warm now,” said Shanna Gong, 29, who brought her son and three friends to the park. “It better be fixed, because it’s going to get hot soon.”
About 25 children were playing in the park Monday morning. A playground for younger children is located adjacent to the splash pad. It was built for the city with funding from the Goals Foundation, started by former city administrator J.J. Murphy. The playground was packed with about 25 to 30 kids Monday morning.
Drew McLaughlin, the city’s municipal affairs manager, said “some technical issues” remain at the splash pad, which was installed in 2011, but never really operated until the summer of 2012.
McLaughlin and Butch Frati, director of operations, said the city has hired Quad 3 Group, an engineering and architectural firm on North Washington Street, to provide a plan to get the splash pad working properly.
McLaughlin said all costs — estimated to be around $10,000 — will be paid through an insurance claim.
“Our goal is to get the splash pad operational as soon as possible,” he said. “Since it was installed, we have had off-and-on issues, but we are confident that will all be behind us soon.”
McLaughlin said the splash pad was a new venture for the city and problems with the contractor who installed it have resulted in a continuing saga of operational issues.
“We tried something new and we still feel it will be good for the city,” he said. “We are disappointed as well. We need good quality features at our parks to draw people in.”
The original cost of the splash pad was $145,439, and when it was installed, the concrete didn’t cure properly and had to be replaced, Frati said. Last summer Frati said problems were encountered with the system’s chlorine system. He said water pressure had been low in the fountains.
“We’ve had issues with the contractor from the beginning, and we’re still holding back payment,” Frati said.
Ken Fox, who walked from Lloyd’s Lane near Stanton Lanes with his three children to Coal Street Park, said they were disappointed the pad was not working.
“It took is about 40 minutes to walk here,” Fox said. “We were told the splash pad won’t be working for a while. This looks like more money wasted by the city.”
Coal Street Park has undergone a $14 million face lift in recent years. The splash pad is an area for water play that has no standing water and doesn’t require a lifeguard or supervision.