Jill Radke and Brandy Wasvick both brought their children to Fireman’s Park for the first time this week.
“We’ve been watching for it to open,” Radke said Tuesday.
After a $3 million renovation, including the addition of two splash pads, the park opened for the season Friday, June 21, two days later than previously anticipated. City officials explained that project schedules were slowed due to subzero and icy weather in January and February and a damp spring that at times either closed the site or at minimum slowed down construction.
And even when it did open, weather wasn’t cooperative. Rain forced the beach to close early Friday and Monday, and rain appeared to dampen attendance Sunday and Tuesday, as well. Recreation director Casey Dudley said the splash pad is always open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the summer regardless of weather.
The decades-old beach, the 3,600-square foot splash pad, a new playground and new shelter are open and available for use, but Dave Walker, city parks director, has told the Press some of the projects will still be under construction into July.
Those projects include basketball courts and a trail that will connect to the bike and pedestrian paths along County Hwy. M that were installed last year.
In the months leading up to the park’s opening, Walker always emphasized how excited he was for the park to open, and how they were looking forward to attendance at the park increasing.
Dudley said beach attendance hasn’t picked up yet, probably owing to all the construction still going on and uncertainty about its status, but the splash pad was popular Saturday.
“What we’re asking right now is for folks to bear with us,” he said. “They should be out of there hopefully this week.”
As Radke watched her daughter, Adele, and Adele’s friend, Norah Wasvick, run around the splash pad just after noon Tuesday, Radke said she appreciates that the playground is directly adjacent to the splash pad, so her children can run back and forth between the amenities.
“It’s really pretty,” Radke said. “I’m glad it’s here.”
Wasvick said it’ll be a “good space” for the summer, especially when temperatures warm.
“Unlike today,” she said with a laugh.