City Releases Three Design Options for Maple Street Splash Pad to Unenthusiastic Response

Three design proposals have been released for public comment on the city’s long-awaited splash pad at Maple Street Park. The response so far, at least on social media, has been pretty negative, with most residents seeming to think that none of the options really hold water.

City Councilor Shawn Varwig posted the three designs in the Canby Now Facebook group last week, encouraging residents to weigh in. Many commenters expressed their feelings that the renderings were underwhelming, bland and even babyish.

“Great for toddlers,” one commenter said, “but is the city creating this splash pad park for only ages 1-4?”

One said the designs, which featured different combinations of spray elements all centered around a garden theme, didn’t seem to offer anything beyond what she could create with a sprinkler in her backyard, while another asked, “Is there a ‘None of the above’ option?”

Ouch. Some pointed out that the spray elements that are heavily favored in all three designs tend to be more difficult and costly to maintain. Others wondered if the somewhat grainy renderings themselves were not doing the designs any favors, and suggested that perhaps the elements would look better in real life (Councilor Varwig said he would try and obtain photographs to share).

Many said they would continue to take their kids to the “better” public splash parks in Wilsonville or Oregon City.

The responses were not necessarily surprising — public opinion on the splash pad design has been tepid since the first initial renderings came out in August — but they are disappointing, considering how long residents have been waiting for this feature and how much the city is spending to deliver on it: just shy of half-a-million dollars.

Several residents suggested the city go back to the drawing board, but that is much easier said than done. The city signed a contract for this project months ago, and will be expected to pay the full $475,000 they agreed to — even if they decide to reverse course on the kind of splash pad they want.

For better or worse, it’s a virtual certainty that the water feature that’s still expected to come online at Maple Street Park by Memorial Day weekend will strongly resemble one of the three options currently being offered for public comment.

And if it does, it won’t be because city leaders didn’t care what their constituents had to say, but because of the fiscal irresponsibility of starting over at this stage of an expensive project.

If you’d like to see the options and weigh in, the renderings and surveys are available in the lobby of the library and civic building on NE 2nd Avenue. Input is due by Jan. 3, 2020.

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