Baby pool Star Burst feature at Neff Park to be replaced

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 4, 2018

GROSSE POINTE CITY — The baby pool at Neff Park will be getting something new for the coming season, but that doesn’t mean any changes are coming.

The weathered center play feature, known as a Star Burst, is going to be replaced with a new Star Burst, which will likely be up and running for next summer’s swimming season. During a meeting Oct. 15, the Grosse Pointe City Council voted unanimously in favor of purchasing a new Star Burst from Ashland, Ohio-based Rain Drop Products LLC for $25,107. Parks and Recreation Director Christopher Hardenbrook said Rain Drop is the sole manufacturer for this particular piece of equipment.

Hardenbrook said the baby pool “just completed its 17th season,” and the new Star Burst is expected to last another 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance.

Besides looking faded and worn, he said, the old Star Burst had also broken down after nearly two decades.

“Due to the years of use and exposure to (pool) chemicals and weather, the features have been stripped of (their) protective coating, exposing bare fiberglass below the distinct water lines,” Hardenbrook said. “Five of the six Star Burst features do not work properly due to rusted valves, broken gaskets or missing parts.”

Some council members wondered about other options for the pool, given that this item is only made by one supplier.

“How many other companies are there out there that do stuff like this?” City Councilman Andrew Turnbull asked.

Hardenbrook said there are “a lot” of companies that manufacture pool features, but while they might be able to create something with similar components to the existing Star Burst, replacing it with something different or trying to replace it piecemeal would dramatically “increase the cost” for the City.

Hardenbrook said the City would need to install “the exact same (play) feature in order to have the proper alignment for connecting six supply mounts located in the surface of the pool’s bottom.”

He said they’re trying to lengthen the life of the baby pool, which was resurfaced in 2016. There’s $50,000 available in the City’s capital projects fund to replace the play features on the Neff Park baby pool, Hardenbrook said. He said the nonprofit City of Grosse Pointe Foundation is in talks with City officials about possibly covering the costs associated with replacing those other features.

“Sounds good to me,” City Councilman Daniel Williams said.