Fireman’s Park was Dave Walker’s favorite park as a child.
So for the City of Verona’s parks and urban forestry director it’s been a great summer. After a $3 million renovation, the park was constantly busy this summer, with a more than 50% increase in attendance over the previous year.
Walker has found that personally fulfilling.
“It was actually beyond our expectations with the amount of use the park got this summer,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a destination, and a nice thing for Verona to have an amenity like that.”
Fireman’s Park brought in more visitors, both local from Verona and from outside communities, this summer after the park was upgraded to include a splash pad, a playground, a new shelter and a revamped beach area with a sunbathing deck, recreation director Casey Dudley told the Press.
Dudley said the majority of the responses he got from the community from in person interactions and through the park’s Facebook page were overwhelmingly positive.
“People loved the improvements,” he said. “(The) improvements were well worth it and great for the community.”
According to beach fee numbers calculated Tuesday, 9,200 people visited the beach this summer despite it opening one week later than usual and some areas being still under construction during its first weekend.
The numbers don’t even count the splash pad, which is free, and which Walker said was often the most used amenity in the park. Walker said patrons often filled the space within 30 minutes of it opening on warm days.
“It was always busy, it seemed like,” he said. “If you had to do cleaning ... you had to get down there before 9 a.m. otherwise there’d be too many people to work around.”
The beach closed for the season Sept. 2, but Dudley said the city hopes to keep the splash pad open on warmer days in September before it needs to be closed for the season.
He said the department will be watching the weather forecast and will post updates on whether the splash pad is open on the Facebook page run by the Recreation department. The page can be found by searching “Fireman’s Park and Beach” on Facebook.