Danville’s splash pad is a government success story

Published 4:29 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2019


The Advocate-Messenger

It took a lot longer than expected, but Danville’s new splash pad is now open at the city’s Lexington Avenue park. It was worth the wait.

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The splash pad has attracted swarms of kids and their parents to the park in the days since it has opened. Any sunny day, you can head over to the park in front of the city’s water treatment plant and see dozens of smiling kids getting soaked.

Those who come for the splash pad are also using the new playground that went in last year, which is a well-designed, modern space that offers lots of ways to play.

The previous Lexington Avenue park was taken out during the $23 million, multi-year overhaul of the water plant, which was dedicated in August 2017. The new park was put back in the same place, but is vastly improved in terms of both playability and aesthetics over the old one.

The park’s two playgrounds and walking path opened last year; officials had planned to have the splash pad open before school let out in 2018, but that obviously didn’t happen. Instead, the water features didn’t open until students were headed back to school in 2019.

Regardless of the delays, Danville now has a truly unique park that’s getting attention from beyond the borders of the city, even the state. Normally, water treatment plants are not destinations — but Danville’s is, and the addition of the splash pad features now make it a regional destination, not just a local one. The park is free and open to the public, and it uses water cleaned right there at the water plant.

Not many people actually realize water plants like Danville’s can be an economic driver for a community. Economic development projects often need huge quantities of water that automatically preclude most small cities from consideration. But Danville has a source of essentially unlimited water from Herrington Lake, and the upgraded water plant can provide 12 million gallons of clean, drinkable water every day.

Water plants are an essential cornerstone of modern life, but they’re also usually forgotten about by the average citizen, who doesn’t think about how radically different life would be without them.

The splash pad is a perfect way to connect community members with the water plant that serves them in an enjoyable way, which provides a very high level of recreational quality.

Even though the splash pad is open now, work at the site isn’t totally done. There are plans to further embed the park within the fabric of the larger community by adding educational signage about water quality and the water cycle, making it possible for school groups to take field trips and learn while having fun.

The water treatment plant and the Lexington Avenue park are both accomplishments Danville officials can hang their hats on with pride.