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Riverside Park comes alive again

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
July 18, 2009
— The repair and caulking are done.

The vessel is painted and is being filled.


Even the sea life has changed color.


After seven years, some controversy and a flood, Riverside Park’s wading pool is scheduled to reopen Tuesday.


The wading pool was closed in 2002 to save $22,800 annually.


A group of residents who adopted Riverside Park has for several years campaigned to reopen the pool, saying the loss of amenities there was one reason that attendance had dropped.


The Friends of Riverside Park have cleaned away brush, restored Lilac Circle, fixed shelter roofs and renovated the shuffleboard courts. Reopening the wading pool and the upper park road were two goals, and now both have been accomplished with the city council’s approval. Council member Bill Truman is especially a park advocate.


The pool was scheduled to reopen last summer, but a flood put the park and pool under water. High water continued to saturate the area earlier this summer.


Renovations, which cost $60,000, included bringing the pool back into shape after years of being closed.


In addition, the city modified the drain to comply with a new federal law passed to prevent children from being caught in the suction. That cost $12,000.


Bonnie Davis, recreation director, said staff looked at ways to improve the aesthetics. Ron Sutterlin painted the ocean creatures on the pool’s bottom, including an octopus and sea horses. The whale was spiffed up and now is a killer whale—but a cute one. He added grit to the paint so children won’t slip.


The city and the friends group are planning a ribbon cutting after the pool’s opening.


“It’s been a long time coming,” said Sandy Hendricks, a member of the Friends of Riverside Park. “All our work is paying off.


“It’s just so refreshing to see the park come alive again.”



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