OKEECHOBEE – Okeechobee County children may have a new way to cool off when the hot weather returns.
At their Dec. 2 meeting, the Okeechobee County Board of Commissioners approved a design/build agreement with Aqua Design Systems to construct a splash pad at the Darrell Enfinger Sports Complex.
The splash pad is a major component of the improvements planned at the sports complex, thanks to a grant. On Dec. 26, 2019, the county submitted a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant, which is administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in the amount of $800,000 to be used to support improvements within the sports complex.
Improvements planned include:
Following notice of award of the grant, on May 27, 2021, the commissioners approved acceptance of the 2020 LWCF matching grant agreement up to $800,000. LWCF will reimburse up to $400,000 and the county is responsible for funding up to $400,000 in matching funds for the proposed improvements. The county has three years to complete the improvements. Grant funds must be used by Dec. 31, 2023.
At their Dec. 2 meeting, commissioners approved an agreement with Aqua Design Systems to build and construct the splash pad for $275,000. The county also approved an expense of $25,000 for amenities such as benches, shade structures and fencing related to this project.
The location of the splash pad at the sports complex is expected to be based on the location of existing utilities and on state and local health codes. Department of Health codes require the splash pad to be within 200 feet walking distance of the restrooms.
Okeechobee County Director of Community Services Denise Whitehead said the design process will take six to eight weeks. She said it is difficult to estimate the construction timeline due to current supply chain problems.
Commissioner Brad Goodbread, who has long been an advocate for the splash pad project, said this addition to the sports park will be a good thing for the young children and families.
Whitehead said the recreation department is very excited about the project.