Spray park is close to opening in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 July 2020 at 11:22 am

‘It’s going to be real nice. It’s going to be beautiful.’ – Jay Pahura, Albion DPW superintendent

Photos by Tom Rivers: Jay Pahura, Albion’s Department of Public Works superintendent, checks on the spray park at Bullard Park on Thursday. The perimeter around the spray park needs to change from dirt to grass before the site opens. Otherwise, Pahura said mud would clog up the drains.

ALBION – Albion’s spray park is close to opening. A certain date for the debut of the water attraction isn’t set.

One missing piece in the project may seem like the simplest part of undertaking: grass. The village Department of Public Works brought in topsoil, seeded and fertilized it and has been steadily watering about an acre of land around the spray park, trying to get the grass to grow. The DPW brings tanker of 3,500 gallons of water to the site each day.

The punishing heat in recent weeks with little rain has made grass growing a challenge.

“We’ve been trying to grow an acre of grass during a drought,” said Jay Pahura, Albion’s DPW superintendent.

The spray park has 18 spray elements. It is much larger than the splash pad that opened in Medina on Thursday. That splash pad at Pine Street Park has five spray elements.

The grass is starting to sprout up so it might not be too much longer. Pahura said the grass is needed or else spray park users will bring in mud, which could clog the drains.

There is also some electrical work, and some sidewalks will be added to make the spray park handicapped accessible.

“We’re almost there,” Pahura said on Thursday. “When it’s done, it’s going to be real nice. It’s going to be beautiful.”

The spray park has been long anticipated by the community. It is part of about $800,000 in upgrades to Bullard, Albion’s most popular park on Route 31.

The new splash pad is next to the amphitheater. Construction started last year on the project.

The $800,000 upgrade at Bullard also includes an amphitheater, utility building with bathrooms and a pavilion.

The village in December 2016 was awarded a $499,605 state grant for the Bullard projects. The village also received $97,500 from the county and $45,000 from the town of Albion, money that was through a revolving-loan fund by the Orleans Economic Development Agency.

The state made the EDA and other economic development agencies end their revolving-loan funds. They either had to give the money to the state or use it in the community with some stipulations. One option allowed for improving handicapped accessibility at parks.

Albion will use that EDA money for sidewalks to the amphitheater and splash pad, to make them accessible to people in a wheelchair.

The park has a new utility building with bathrooms. The building will get a log wash, two coats of stain and clear coat. The Albion DPW also is putting a new 400 amp electrical panel next to the building.

The Albion DPW is providing $166,370 of in-kind services as part of Albion’s local share for the state grant. The DPW took down a pavilion and storage building last fall to make way for the new utility building. The DPW also ran a new sewer line across Route 31 near the Bullard entrance. That sewer line will service the park.

The DPW also ran 600 feet of waterline for the splash pad and utility building, several feet of sewer line, and will be doing the electric service for the amphitheater.

Pahura said the infrastructure was put in with future expansion in mind.

A touch pad will activate the water at the splash park.

The Covid-19 pandemic pushed back the schedule on the spring construction at the park. The village needed to reduce the work crews at the DPW by 50 percent for about six weeks.

The DPW only has nine employees at full strength, and they have the other tasks with street maintenance, water line work, picking up brush and numerous other responsibilities.

“Covid-19 slowed everything down, but we’re almost there,” Pahura said.

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