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Splash pad could be in works for Pahrump

A group of Pahrump area parents has launched an effort to bring a splash pad to the community and it appears that county officials are on board with the idea.

At the Nye County Commission’s Tuesday, June 6 meeting, several mothers took the time to speak during public comment and it was immediately apparent that they had done their homework beforehand. All were very well-versed in the subject of splash pads and came with statistics, facts and figures to back up their request.

“What is a splash pad some might be wondering,” Pahrump resident Rayne Pryor stated Tuesday morning. “They are a water-based recreation area that features little to no standing water. They have a nonslip, porous surface, nozzles and spouts that spray or mist water into the air. The result is a low-cost, fun, refreshing recreation area for all ages.”

Pryor said she had started an online petition with Change.org and so far 722 people have signed the petition. However, understanding that water is a major concern in the community, Pryor didn’t rely on just petition support. She was prepared with information about the actual water use, explaining, “According to Adventure Aquatic Play Systems, a recirculating splash pad, which is a closed-circuit system that recycles and disinfects the water, only uses water to initially fill the tanks, which is, on average, 1,500 to 3,000 gallons, while pools can take, on average, 18,000 to 20,000 gallons to fill.

“After the initial fill of the splash pad’s water tanks, the water usage is very minimal,” Pryor continued. “A recirculating system can have a higher initial cost, but long-term, they are more cost-effective. They are an eco-friendly option that continually recycles the water supply. And most splash pads have a timing system that needs to be activated for use so on the rare occasion that no one is at the splash pad, water would not continue to spray.”

Cassie Peters spoke next, telling commissioners that of Nevada’s 17 counties, Nye County ranks sixth in population. “Pahrump makes up 86% of Nye County’s population and is currently growing at a rate of 10.63% annually. As of 2020, children under 18 make up 21.4% of the town’s population, which is over 9,000 children. Pahrump is no longer the retirement community it once was and the demand for a splash pad is definitely here, now more than ever,” Peters asserted.

Peters said her personal research revealed that out of Nevada’s 10 metropolitan and micropolitan areas, there are only two without splash pads, Fallon and Pahrump. However, the city of Fallon has approved the construction of a splash pad in that community, leaving Pahrump as the only statistical area without one.

Andrea Coughlin focused her comments on the financial aspect of splash pads, explaining that grants would be a likely source for funding the project.

“For the initial construction, grants could be applied for and are currently being looked into by the Nye County contracts and grants manager. Our desert location, paired with the fact that we are one of the last counties in Nevada to get a splash pad, would favorably contribute to winning grant money for this project,” Coughlin stated. “Once built and filled, maintaining a public splash pad is cheaper than maintaining a public pool. There is no need to hire staff and there is less water to filter and chlorinate.”

Coughlin added that a splash pad also has an advantage over a public pool when it comes to flood waters. “In the past, large storms have ended the public pool’s season prematurely with flood runoff, something that would not affect a splash pad once the storm passes,” she remarked.

Mackayla Turley then quoted statistics regarding child drowning, comparing them with the time it takes her to perform regular tasks with her children while at the community pool. For example, Turley said it takes her up to two minutes and 37 seconds to apply sunscreen to her youngest children and a potty break for her oldest averages four minutes, which doubles when taking her two-year-old along as well. Changing her baby’s diaper can take over two minutes in and of itself and just setting up for a day at the pool takes more than a minute and a half.

“Keeping all these times in your mind, I’d like you to consider some facts from the CDC on drowning. It only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown. Twenty seconds. A time shorter than any (task) I timed in this past week,” Turley said. “Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one through four. For every child that fatally drowns, there are another seven that receive emergency department services. While the town’s current pool is a wonderful resource for the community, it is simply not a viable option for young families the way that a splash pad could be.”

When the commissioners’ comment portion of the meeting opened, commissioner Donna Cox noted that she has been a proponent of the concept for many years but it had always somehow been pushed to the back burner. “We’ll address that with the parks department, because now there is a lot of support,” Cox said.

Commissioner Ron Boskovich chimed in to add that he, too, agreed with the idea. “I’m in complete support of that. I think between our grants department and our parks department, we should be able to do that.”

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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