Historically Rich

Every project experiences some pitfalls, and Catalina Park was no exception. Construction challenges included low pressure, what with four water meters tied together in a looped system for the potable water needs of the wading pool and bathhouse, as well as the irrigation system. The decision was made to separate the irrigation feed from the potable feed to allow for the possible future connection of a reclaimed water system for irrigation. This was achieved by isolating one of the water meters and installing a new water line dedicated to the splash pad and drinking fountains. The remaining meters were left on the loop system, which was then directed through a new booster pump to provide complete spray-irrigation coverage to all turf areas.

Another challenge was an alteration to meet ADA regulations. Since the splash pad was going to be incorporated into a small complex that included the wading pool and playground, the fencing was originally configured so the pad and wading pool could be open together, with an adjoining walk-through gate or a gate that could be locked so the splash pad could be used for pre- and post-season activities. However, this proved to be too costly when it was determined the original bathhouse also would have to be renovated to meet ADA specifications. Instead, it was decided that the existing wading pool would remain in place to serve as a reservoir for the splash pad only. The water would be disinfected and recirculated without waste by employing this type of system. It was designed with a manual-activation system to allow residents the ability to turn on the water features as desired. Backwashing the filtration system was achieved by directing the water into a perforated pipe buried in a gravel-filled trench underneath a planting area. This allowed the water to infiltrate the soil surrounding the splash pad, and eliminated the need for a sewer connection while supplementing the watering requirements for nearby vegetation.

With the established park elevations, another major challenge was ensuring the elevation of the pad and the wading pool did not allow water to collect on the splash pad during or after operation of the water features. Unfortunately, due to existing park conditions, the elevations were too similar to prevent this from occurring; therefore, the water level was lowered in the wading-pool reservoir. A small upright spray feature was also added in the wading pool to provide a visual point of interest.

Add It All Up

As with many public projects and funding, there is rarely enough money to match all of the ideas and plans. Parks and recreation capital-planning staff, neighborhood leaders, contractors, equipment companies, and “in-house” staff members needed to work on irrigation and splash pad elements, and this took some time. But working through the challenges—physical, historical, and social—was worth the effort. Now there is a new group of wet and excited children (and adults) who can experience multiple picnics, super-sliders and climbers, and a park with a historical background older than the state of Arizona.

For more information about the project, please contact Peg Weber, TucsonParks and Recreation Specialized Services Administrator, by phone 520-837-8050, or e-mail Peg.Weber@Tucsonaz.gov.

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Related posts:

  1. From Wading Pool To Splashpad
  2. From Splash Pad To Sprinkler
  3. Spray On
  4. Day-Camp Excursions
  5. Aquatic Playgrounds

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