New splash pads, renovated pools part of Wichita's finalized aquatics plan

Published: Aug. 6, 2019 at 4:46 PM CDT
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For now,the debate about what to do with Wichita's aging pools comes to an end. Now, the budget for the city's final aquatics plan nears approval.

Splash pads in some areas gained enough popularity to replace old pools like the one at Edgemoor Park.

"We didn't just want water shooting out of the ground. We wanted to make it a lot of fun. We want to make it a destination location," Wichita Parks and Recreation Director Troy Houtman says.

With that, he says he expects success with the plan to draw crowds to the parks, despite splash pads replacing pools in some spots.

"We really went through and came up with some great themes, working with our team and a lot of different folks," Houtman says. "And some of the community gave back their feedback of what they wanted to see. ...It's a different fun than the pool, but it's still fun."

Sisters-in-law Kellie and Amy Newlin say news of new and creatively-designed splash pads sparks excitement for their combined five children.

"If they're different, the kids would probably enjoy something different than the same old thing every time" Houtman says.

In Wichita's aquatic plan, pools in Linwood, Boston and Evergreen parks join Edgemoor in transforming into splash pads. The plan calls for construction of two more splash pads at Harrison and Planeview parks.

The plan calls for six operating pools, all of them renovated. Those locations include Aley, College Hill, Orchard, Harvest, Minisa, and McAdams parks.

"We're going to add a little bit more spice to it, add a bit more color, add some shade," Houtman says. It's not going to drastically change the pools, but it's going to make them a little bit more fun, a bit more enjoyable."