Independence residents have a new place to cool off during steamy summer days. The city’s splash pad, adjacent to the outdoor pool at Elmwood Park, offers water fun for everyone.
Surrounded by a concrete deck, the 30-foot-by-60-foot ADA-accessible pad opened this past summer. The slip-resistant surface contains 20 water features, including a tipping bucket, ground sprays and cascading falls. Each is designed to provide a sensory-rich experience for children of all ages and abilities.
The area is accessed through a latched gate. Since there is no standing water, lifeguards will not be needed. As a result, the splash pad can be used on warm days before the pool opens or after it closes for the season.
A community gathering place since it opened in 1962, the pool was ready for a refresh.
“The city sent out a survey last year that asked residents what new amenities they’d like to see in Independence,” says Tom
Walchanowicz, the city’s recreation director. “The installation of a splash pad was at the top of the list. It’s been more than 20 years since we’ve done any upgrades to the pool, so the new space is a great addition.”
As the splash pad’s debut season winds down, April Lemke, the city’s aquatics manager, is gratified by the reception residents have given their new attraction.
“It’s nice to see children and parents having a good time together,” she says. “It speaks to the idea of the splash pad, which was to give families with young kids another place where they can enjoy themselves.”