Gunnison Valley pool manager Kevin Harvey points to the location for the city splash pad, Construction on the facility will begin soon. The city plans to plave the 40-foot by 60-foot splash pad adjacent to the pool in the rear deck area. - Robert Stevens / Messenger photo

Gunnison Valley pool manager Kevin Harvey points to the location for the city splash pad, Construction on the facility will begin soon. The city plans to plave the 40-foot by 60-foot splash pad adjacent to the pool in the rear deck area. – Robert Stevens / Messenger photo

With a hand from local company, Gunnison gets going on splash pad


Robert Stevens

Managing editor




GUNNISON— After some creative fundraising and money-saving concepts brought the project within reach of the budget,  Gunnison City Council approved an expenditure on Oct. 6 of $25,000 to get the ball rolling on construction of a splash pad.

Until now, the city has been struggling to find a way to fund the project. But with the help of Barclay Mechanical of Manti, the Gunnison Pool Committee found a way to make the splash pad a reality at a surprisingly lower cost, Pool Manager Kevin Havey told the city council.

According to Havey, Barclay Mechanical agreed to design and build the three main features in the splash pad: a tractor, a truck dump and a water cannon. All three features would be powder coated and designed to the pool committee’s specifications. And Barclay agreed to manufacture all three of the water features for $12,000.

“It was actually quoted at $17,000, but they [Barclay Mechanical] are donating $5,000 of it back,” Havey said. “Any one of those features would be at least $20,000 each if we went to one of the splash pad companies to get it.”

Havey told the council Barclay Mechanical agreed to start work right away and not to charge anything in advance. That made it possible to get the whole project going sooner.

Havey passed out a pricing sheet to the council. Minus some in-kind work by the city and expenses not yet calculated, such as concrete and fencing,  the total price came to $25,503.

“When I saw that amount, it felt like a sign, because that’s how much we have raised from our Fourth of July fundraiser, and that’s without any sponsors (for the splash pad specifically),” Havey said.

“There is a lot of customizability with the plan I have put together. The design and setup of all the nozzles are such that we can swap them out for very cheap, move them, change them and get different spray patterns.”

Havey said he planned to approach a number of local businesses to see if they would sponsor the project. Sponsors would have plaques or engravings built into the features of the splash pad to recognize their donations.

“I think a number of companies might be interested in sponsorship,” Havey said. “The truck dump feature for example. We have plenty of trucking companies in this area. We would put their name on the feature and Barclay  would powder coat the whole thing with the sponsor’s name already engraved.”

One of the main decisions the council needed to make was where to place the splash pad so Havey could calculate the dirt moving, concrete and fencing costs.

One idea was to put the facility in a central location in the park within sight of the road, making it a more obvious attraction to citizens and people passing through town.

The drawback to that idea, Havey explained, was that if you have the splash pad too far from the pool, it couldn’t share  the pool’s water recirculation and treatment equipment. That would mean the splash pad would require its own water supply, would have to be monitored four times daily for proper water treatment levels and would need its own recirculation system. All those problems would be solved by putting the splash pad near the pool.

“We had a big pool committee meeting and discussed every angle tonight,” Havey told the council members. “This is just the recommendation we had considering all the angles like operation, treatment and security. It falls to you to decide how we proceed.”

“I really did want this splash pad to be totally open to the public,” Gunnison City Mayor Bruce Blackham said.

Havey said, “I thought it was a good idea myself at first, having it as a center piece for people to see as they drive by, but it’s just cost-prohibitive and uncontrolled.”

The dimensions of the splash pad would be 40-feet by 60-feet, Havey told the council. He said with removal of a fence, it would fit well behind the pool deck. The pool committee, he said,  was unanimous in its recommendation to locate it there.

“That’s a pretty strong recommendation,” Councilman Blake Donaldson said. “You’ve got some great thinkers on that committee.”

Blackham asked, “Is this city capable, with our equipment and manpower, to get all the dirt work and compaction required for this without having to hire anyone out?”

Havey explained to the council  that the cost of dirt and concrete work, fencing and landscaping were still undetermined, but it was possible  city employees could handle most of those portions of the project, allowing the city to save some money compared to hiring a contractor—although at the sacrifice of speedier project completion.

“A contractor would do it faster,” Havey said.

“I bet would could get some  volunteer workers in to help us get it done, maybe the Lion’s Club,” Donaldson said.

“It would be nice to get your pad set before heavy frost comes in,” Councilman Robert Anderson added.

Blackham suggested the city start the work and if it looked like time was running out, the city could reevaluate the need for hiring a contractor.

“Let’s get going on it,” Anderson said.

Blackham said, “I agree.”

Donaldson commended Havey for his problem solving. “Kevin has done a phenomenal job on this thing, figuring all this out. I think we need to do everything this way, as far as doing as much of everything we can ourselves.”

The council voted unanimously to spend the $25,000 raised during the Fourth of July celebration and gave Havey the go-ahead to move forward.