EDEN — The city’s first splash pad is set to blast its inaugural fountains by July 1, but community members on social media have kept up a flurry of complaints about the admission price.
In late May, the city of Eden announced through Facebook that daily admission rates for the Freedom Park Splash Pad will be $4 for city residents and $5 for non-residents, while children under age 4 and folks older than 55 are admitted for free.
The charge is prohibitive, argued scores of respondents to the late May Facebook price post, with some residents stating they will opt to stay home and cool their children with the garden hose or seek splash pads in the region that offer free admission.
But city officials say they may have a satisfactory solution to put to a vote June 18 at the city council meeting — a season pass that allows unlimited visits to the city’s Mill Avenue pool and the splash pad for $40 per person.
Critics on social media, though, say even that price is too high for families with multiple children.
The $800,000 recreational site is designed with bright flowers, fish and cartoonish snails, all sprinklers in disguise, and positioned near the facility’s dog parks and pavilion.
A grant for $500,000 from the North Carolina Department of Cultural and Natural Resources covered the cost of the water features, while the City of Eden pumped in another $300,000 to fund a bathhouse and concessions and amenities like seating.
Eden’s Mayor Pro Tem Jim Burnette and Johnny Farmer, director of the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said admission fees will pay for three staff members for the recreational feature, as well as cost of water and maintenance of the pad.
Greensboro has three free spray parks, High Point has one, and Winston-Salem has five. Two of Greensboro’s spray parks — Barber Park and Keeley Park — are free for individuals but charge $1 per person for organized groups of 10 people or more.
While the target date for completion is July 1, Farmer said the splash pad may open a bit earlier.
The facility will operate daily from noon to 6 p.m., and Farmer anticipates keeping fountains flowing into September.