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A sprinkling of concern
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Splash pads are a heck of a lot of fun, and are becoming popular in communities all over the country now. They allow children to cool off and have water fun on hot, summer days. Their caretakers can rest and enjoy observing their play, or join in if the mood strikes.
They also don’t require lifeguards to be on duty, making them a great option for cooling off after school starts in August, and the supply of lifeguards is diminished causing city pools to close.
These are two big pluses in favor of jumping on board this new trend in public spaces. But the threat of drowning isn’t the only one a city needs to consider when deciding to move ahead on a splash pad.
There is still the danger of slipping and falling, for one. And there is a greater chance excited children could run out in front of traffic in their zeal to get to the water.
With only street parking available, parking spaces on the square side of the street will be a premium on hot days, so the possibility isn’t hard to foresee.
Who will be responsible when the first unattended child is hurt in such an accident? This is a question the City of Great Bend needs to ask itself before it jumps feet first into this potential situation.
Wet children leaving puddles on the floors of the Barton County Courthouse in a quest to find a restroom could lead to other liability issues for the city and the county as well.
Perhaps other locations might be more suitable. Before moving forward on construction of the City of Great Bend’s proposed Splash Pad, more thought and consideration needs to be taken, or else city officials may find they are all wet.

--Veronica Coons