West Plains splash pad closed for repairs

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 4:00 PM CDT
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - Cloudy and cool weather didn’t keep kids from making a big splash at the city pool today. But right across the street, at Butler Children’s Park, the splash pad isn’t splashing. The splash pad is closed, because of damage to one of the water features.

The City of West Plains opened the splash pad on May 12, 2021, at a cost of about $250,000. Nobody expected it to need repairs this soon.

The 12-foot tall clarinet is the culprit. Or, more accurately, the people who push around the clarinet are the culprits. The clarinet holds two buckets high in the air. When they fill with water, they tip over and dump the water onto the heads of the people below. But some people get impatient and shake the clarinet to make the water pour out.

Or, they try to climb the pole. All of this shaking and climbing has loosened the clarinet at its base, causing the City to deem it unsafe and close the splash pad. The City first reported on Facebook that the pad was closed “due to vandalism.” However, community services director Todd Shanks said they have reevalutated the situation, and now believe the damage was not caused by deliberate vandalism.

“I wouldn’t say deliberate, or blatant, it’s really more misuse of the equipment,” said Shanks. “This is not a jungle gym, this equipment is not designed for heavy wear and tear; it’s not meant to be hung on or anything of that nature.”

Shanks said that the splash pad was designed with small children in mind. However, he said, some people report seeing teenagers climbing on the equipment.

“We are asking parents to help us keep this from happening,” said Shanks. “We also ask that if you see someone vandalizing or misusing park equipment, please call the West Plains police department to report it.”

Shanks said the Cith hopes to have the clarinet repaired within a few days so that people can start enjoying the splash pad again.

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