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SOUTHWICK — That the splash pad project could be open to the public by mid-June and a local resident and pickleball instructor has volunteered to assist the town in building six courts were the top items discussed during a recent meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission.

“It’s on schedule,” John Whalley III said of the splash pad during the commission’s March 13 meeting. “We’re hoping it will be done and working by the time we open up town beach.”

He said Crestview Construction Inc. will handle the construction of the project, and it still needs to find subcontractors for the installation of the electrical services and plumbing. Whalley said he believes Crestview will start the project in late April or May.

According to Waterplay Solutions Corp., the Canadian company from which the splash pad equipment was purchased, the installation can take between three to four weeks, or as short as two weeks.

The pad will feature three towers that rain down water, and a large ring, big enough for children to walk through, that would have water spraying inside from the ring’s edge. There will also be two tulip-shaped fixtures spraying up from the park’s deck, and two “pop-it” sprayers.

The equipment needed for the pad has arrived in town, Whalley said at an earlier meeting.

Since Town Meeting approved an allocation of nearly $300,000 using Community Preservation Committee funds for the pad, there have been questions about water usage. Some systems recirculate the water used, like a swimming pool, but this pad will use fresh water.

When that issue was raised at Town Meeting, Whalley, who has been coordinating the project, said he was working with the design engineer to find ways to reduce the amount of water needed.

Used water will be disposed of using a method called underground injection, which is fairly rudimentary. It resembles a septic leach field, though somewhat larger than typical, with perforated plastic tubing placed under a layer of sod. The used water flows through the tubes and is absorbed into the surrounding area. An underground injection system can also be as simple as digging a ditch, filling it with pea stone, putting a plastic perforated pipe along its length, and re-covering with pea stone, according to state regulations.

That is the site work Crestview Construction will be doing before the pad and equipment are installed.

Pickleball costs

About the six pickleball courts residents approved allocating $320,000 using Community Preservation Act funds during the December Special Town Meeting, Randy White attended the commission’s meeting to offer his assistance to “get the project rolling.”

“I like to offer my services to get a shovel in the ground. I’m more than willing to devote my time,” White said in an interview after the meeting.

White started playing pickleball after retiring from a three-decade career in municipal government and has become a certified instructor. When the town’s Council on Aging began offering pickleball last year, it was White who helped teach those who wanted to play.

Since he picked up the game, considered the fastest-growing sport in the country, White said he has played up and down the East Coast and learned a great deal about what court surfaces work best.

Most, he said, are made of concrete or asphalt, either of which will work. He was given the go-ahead to start contacting contractors that install courts to get construction prices.

When the project was first proposed, the former director of senior and recreational operations got a quote from an Andover-based company that installs courts. White said that quote came in at the “high end” and thinks there more cost-effective options available, which he is going to explore.

When asked when he thought local residents might be able to play in town, he was hesitant to provide an answer, saying contractors who could do the work may already have projects lined up for the upcoming building season.

cclark@thereminder.com | + posts