By Patrick McCallister
For Hometown News
DEBARY - The city plans on making a splash. Plans are moving forward to construct a 40-foot circular splash pad.
"It's basically a water park," city manager Dan Parrott said. "Kids get in and get wet during the summer."
The proposed water park will be at the location of the old city hall, 137 South US Highway 17-92. Chris Carson, vice mayor, has worked in city parks and recreation departments for a couple of decades. He and other council members eyed the property for family uses for a long time.
"The best part of this location is the numbers, the usership," he said. "Here's the best part, it's on the front side of a residential area that lacks recreation. I don't see you getting any better numbers than this location."
City staff is looking at design options that'll cost between $250,000 and $300,000. The DeBary City Council will see those options at its next regular meeting, March 6. The construction money will come from capital project reserves the city has built up. Splash parks have been expanding rapidly through Central Florida. Two of DeBary's neighbors, Deltona and Orange City, have built them in recent years.
"We don't want to duplicate what everyone else has," Mr. Carson said.
Among other things, he hopes DeBary's park will have music, smoke and lights for nighttime use. Mr. Carson said no one at city council meetings mentioned the close proximity of fire-rescue and law-enforcement to the park - both fire and sheriff stations are visible from the proposed location - but he said parents will likely be comforted by their immediate presence.
Mr. Carson said the splash pad will be well worth the cost, and attract more families and businesses to DeBary's central area.
"They are proven to be economic drivers, depending on your demographics," he said. "The people coming into DeBary - are they families?"
Mr. Parrott said that soon after the council approves a design, work will start.
"We'll have to bid the project," he said. "We're hoping to have it up and running later this year. That's the goal."
In the meantime, he said that he's been getting a lot of questions from townspeople with kids who are ready to make a splash.
"It's starting to get quite a buzz with the younger folks," he said.