North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Groundbreaking held for Haller splash pad


Christopher Andersson

Local children were invited to break the ground during the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Haller Park splash pad on July 4.

Local kids received the honor of breaking ground for the Haller Park splash pad on July 4.

City officials said that the splash pad construction is scheduled to finish by the end of March next year so that it can be open by next summer.

The approximately $1.2 million project was largely community funded, with help from the Stillaguamish Tribe and the Arlington Rotary Club.

"This is a monumental groundbreaking, it has been several years in the works," said Paul Ellis, city administrator for Arlington and this year's Arlington Rotary Club president.

The project was delayed slightly this year as the city's first bid process did not go well.

"The first time only one bidder put in and it was well over our budget," said Ellis.

"We believe that was due the time constraints. We were really pushing to get the splash pad done this year, and that just wasn't going to happen," said Ellis.

When going out to bid a second time the city relaxed the timeline, giving a later deadline of March 2019.

They received four bids the second time, and with the best bid being a little less than $800,000 they were "very close to the engineer's estimate," said Ellis.

Splash pads have no standing water but a number of water features which will spray at those who run through.

Arlington officials hope the splash pad provides another improvement to Haller Park.

"It's something for kids. It enhances the overall value of the park," said Marilyn Oertle, an Arlington City Council Member and member of the parks commission.

"I think it just makes our community better," she said.

The Stillaguamish Tribe was the biggest donor for the project, contributing $550,000.

"Historically this was our Skabalko village site which was our gathering site as our relatives would come up-river to visit, to go to the other villages or to hunt or fish," said Shawn Yanity, chairman of the Stillaguamish Tribe.

"So it's nice to see we're all here to see this continue as a gathering place," he said.

The splash pad has been part of the Haller Park master plan for a while. Ellis said phase one of improving the park was the new playground equipment and the splash pad will be the second phase.

"Then we'll start getting to work on figuring out how to fund phase three, which would be paving the parking lot and adding some more permanent stages for entertainment," he said.

The improvements have brought more families down to the park.

"Prior to us putting in that playground equipment, the amenities were old, it really wasn't a great place to bring kids and it was under-utilized," said Ellis.

"Anytime we can create safe places in the community for our families to gather, that's part of what keeps our community safe," said Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert.

The splash pad is also meant to be a safer alternative than swimming in the Stillaguamish River.

"Every year it's sad to hear on the news that someone had passed away or drowned on the river, so it's a great privilege that our council stood up and pitched in for this project," said Yanity.


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