After years of funding, planning and work, Arlington’s Haller Park splash pad is now open for kids to play at.
City officials held the grand opening for the splash pad on May 23 and declared it open on May 24.
A splash pad is a park feature with numerous water spray features, but no standing water, making them safer than pools.
More than $1 million of funding came together to create the Haller Park splash pad from local organizations like the Stillaguamish Tribe and the Arlington Rotary, with help from a Washington state recreation grant as well.
“It was about a year ago when we had a big pile of sand and we were talking about the groundbreaking,” said Paul Ellis, Arlington city administrator and local Rotary member.
The Arlington Rotary has worked to improve Haller Park for the past decade.
“Five years ago, this park was underutilized and people felt unsafe to be down here. It just was not used to it’s fullest potential,” said Ellis.
The Rotary helped install new play equipment and restrooms to “replace the old ones that, if you remember, were built in the ‘60s and weren’t so nice,” he said.
Those projects helped bring more people to the park, however a splash pad was always envisioned as one of the final steps to improve the area.
Parent Delana Hadaway said that she is looking forward to the splash pad.
“I think it’s pretty cool. It’s a good thing for the kids and I know my kid will really love it,” she said.
Many groups came together to put the splash pad together.
“This was a community project. It was Rotary and a lot of people that played a part in this. The community took this park back,” said Ellis.
The Stillaguamish Tribe alone donated $550,000 to the splash pad project.
“The river gives us life, it’s our way of life, however it is also unforgiving. Each and every year we hear of a tragedy or an almost tragedy that happens on the river,” said Shawn Yanity, chairman of the Stillaguamish Tribe.
“So it is truly a blessing that families have a place to gather and the little ones have a nice, safe space to be out in the sun and get wet,” he said.
Yanity said the Haller Park area historically was used as a gathering place for local Native tribes, especially before canoe journeys, so he is glad that the park is becoming a community space again.
“This area here is so fitting to have as a park, as it is one of our oldest gathering sites,” he said.
The Stillaguamish Tribal Council was “very excited” to be a part of the project, said Yanity.
“When the city comes to talk with us about doing things together we don’t look at it as the city coming to look for grants or to ask for money, we look at it as just a partnership. This is all our homes,” he said.
In addition to the Tribe’s donation, the splash pad was brought to Haller Park with another half a million from a Washington state grant and more than $100,000 from the Arlington Rotary Club.
“The pad would not be opening today without the work and fundraising efforts of the club. They also put their sweat equity into it as they were laying the sod just two weeks ago,” said Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert.
City staff and volunteers from the Arlington Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission also helped plan for a splash pad at the park.
“These are the people who had the vision to include a splash pad in the city’s Parks Master Plan,” said Tolbert.
Once the project got started city staff were “delighted to work with the community” she said.
The Haller Park splash pad was officially opened to the public on May 24 and will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
The current plan is for the splash pad to be open until Labor Day weekend. Children under 13 must be supervised and the splash pad cannot be reserved.