Splash pad construction underway, aiming for Memorial Day opening

By: Joshua Gordon | Shelby - Utica News | Published April 16, 2018

 The Shelby Township splash pad is under construction at Gene Shepherd Park,  with the goal of opening by Memorial Day.

The Shelby Township splash pad is under construction at Gene Shepherd Park, with the goal of opening by Memorial Day.

Photo provided by Brad Bates

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The warm weather may be taking longer than usual to come to metro Detroit, but come Memorial Day, Shelby Township residents could have a new reason to want warm temperatures.

The Shelby Township Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Department has begun construction on the new splash pad at Gene Shepherd Park, with the goal of opening it to the public on Memorial Day. The park is located at 23 Mile and Dequindre roads.

The splash pad has been on the township’s top-10 priorities list for each of the past two years, and Treasurer Michael Flynn, who sits on the Parks and Recreation Committee, said that while it is not a need, it will improve the quality of life in the township.

“We have really circled this for 10 years, and we were working on getting a balanced budget across every major fund,” Flynn said. “Shelby Township is a great place to live, and part of that is the good parks. We have the money to spend on quality-of-life projects. We have focused on police, roads and fire, and now we look at quality of life.”

Parks Director Joe Youngblood said the cost of the project is $295,000, which the township has budgeted. Flynn said the project has also received some private donations.

The pie-shaped pad will have 10 different water features and will be located near the park’s bathroom building. The building, which is a holdover from an old soccer facility, is also being retrofitted to be the admissions and concessions building.

The building will serve prepackaged food, such as chips, pop and ice cream, and it will have a lounge area. Flynn said the Parks Department planted new trees last year in the area, which will help spruce up the space.

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved a contract with Brighton-based Penchura LLC in February 2017 to engineer the plans for the splash pad. Penchura was the low bid for the project.

Youngblood said the rule of thumb around Michigan is for water amenities to be open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, which is what Shelby Township plans to follow for the splash pad. Construction has already laid pipes underground, and about 90 percent of the excavation is complete, he said, while work has begun on the building.

Youngblood said township officials expect to have a 50-person limit on the splash pad at one time. Officials are still working out details on the rules and regulations of the feature, such as how the city will rotate people onto the splash pad during busier times of the year.

If they are able to stay on schedule and get it open by Memorial Day, Youngblood said, it will be a great kickoff to the summer.

“For parks and recreation, we are always looking for something new and different, and really, the splash pad is icing on the cake,” he said. “It will be a great place for Shelby Township youth and residents to head up to and cool down.”