RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – A 4,000-gallon water tank is continually churning out eight minutes of splash park fun for kids now that the Spray Bay is open at the Ridgefield Parks and Recreation.
“This was a patio that was virtually underutilized, and it was an ideal space,” Parks and Recreation Director Paul Roche said of the setup. Originally slated to open Saturday, the Spray Bay will be offering up a preview of its fun to the public on Friday from 3 to 7 p.m., Parks and Recreation Department said.
The 2,800-square-foot space boasts 26 water elements that run in eight-minute cycles. An attendant can push a button that controls the cycles and restart the flow of water, Roche said. The space can accommodate 150 children from the ages of 2 to 12.
“The water is recirculated every few hours,” Roche said. The town had the option of getting a system that would use all new water for every cycle but opted to reuse the water, which is collected in basins and cleaned before its reused. “We’re not wasting water.”
The Spray Bay has been a promised addition to the facility since early 2013, when the Parks and Recreation Department went to the town for the bonding approval for $130,000. The rest of the nearly $400,000 price tag, Roche says, was raised through private donations.
The bids came in over-budget earlier this year, so the department had to redraft the project proposal and ultimately had to push back the construction.
“Once we got the bid, it took 10 weeks to get it done,” Roche said, commending the construction company for getting the work finished so quickly.
The department decided to go for the Spray Bay instead of an outdoor pool because it’s safer for the children and requires less overhead costs.
No lifeguards are needed because there is no chance of a child drowning with the zero-foot depth at the bay, Roche said.
“The kids don’t need to know how to swim to use it,” said Laura Bonistalli, manager of the Spray Bay
This also means that the department can hire adults with disabilities to help as attendants.
“We’ve got a great group of people,” Bonistalli said. The workers have an opportunity for learning interpersonal interactions and job training.
The Spray Bay is free with a $10 pool pass for anyone without a membership. Members get free access with their annual fees.
It will be open during the summer from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends. During September, the Spray Bay will be open only on the weekends during regular pool hours.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.