More than 20 children burst through the gates into the miniature water park immediately after the ribbon was cut around 4 p.m., making them the first group of kids to run through the fountains and get drenched by the overhead water buckets.
The public water feature will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the summer, said Mayor Doris Jones.
“It’s truly been a labor of love,” Jones said. “We’re so excited and grateful to have this for our children.”
Many parents watched as their children played, including the city’s newest councilwoman, Melissa Fournier, who said she plans to visit frequently throughout the summer with her three children, ages 15, 10 and 2.
“I think it’s a great thing for all of the families here,” Fournier said.
Fournier will take over the seat left open by the recent death of Councilman Floyd Puckett. She will be sworn in Aug. 6.
Inside Cline Park, located at 704 Bartow St. in Waleska, the water-filled play area features three 10- to 12-foot fountains and eight water jets that shoot up from the cement base.
It is enclosed by a fence for safety, but parents with small children are encouraged to accompany their children while they play in the water.
The long-awaited splash pad is roughly 60 feet by 40 feet and cost about $150,000, which included equipment installation. It is the first one of its kind built with taxpayer dollars.
The play area has been about six years in the making, said Marguerite Cline, former Waleska mayor, who said she had the original idea for the structure.
“I was talking to my daughter in (Washington) D.C. and she said they had just gone to the fountain park,” Cline said. “I said to her, ‘What is that?’ and the idea just came from there.”
Cline said she hopes her six grandchildren will be able to come enjoy the park soon.