The splash pad at Whitehall's John Bishop Park was a popular destination this year -- especially for Whitehall grandparents.
That's why city Parks and Recreation Director Shannon Sorrell plans to present a proposal to the city's parks and recreation commission seeking a new admission policy for the nonresident grandchildren of Whitehall residents.
The commission was expected to consider the proposal Sept. 12.
"It's something so many grandparents have asked about," Sorrell said.
The city's current policy is a $5 splash-pad admission fee for all nonresidents -- but each Tuesday this year, the city offered "grandparents day," when residents could bring nonresident grandchildren for $2.
"We're working on a new better plan (next season) for our city's grandparents," Sorrell said Sept. 5.
Meanwhile, the first full season for Whitehall's splash pad at John Bishop Park lasted a little longer than planned.
The city opted to keep the splash pad open after its slated Labor Day closing when temperatures continued to exceed 90 degrees.
The final day of the splash pad was expected to be Friday, Sept. 7, Sorrell said Sept. 5.
Construction of Whitehall's 3,500-square-foot, $1.2 million splash pad began in late 2016 and was scheduled to open Memorial Day 2017, but the opening was postponed until July 5.
This year, the splash pad opened the Saturday before Memorial Day.
"Our biggest challenge this season was the weather," said Sorrell, adding it was an opportunity to educate residents about the conditions that require its closure.
"We had that question a lot this year, why we closed the splash pad," Sorrell said.
Greater-than-average amounts of rainfall this summer caused the splash pad to close on multiple days.
"If it's 70 degrees or below, or too windy, we also close," Sorrell said.
The splash pad was closed nine full days and 19 half-days for weather-related causes this year.
Occasional mechanical failures also caused the splash pad to shut down several times.
A Canadian company manufactured the splash pad and supplies replacement parts.
"It took a couple of days to get the part we needed sometimes," Sorrell said.
The splash pad was closed 13 different days for mechanical reasons.
The city typically announces splash-pad closings on its Facebook page.
According to attendance figures kept by parks and recreation staff at the splash pad this year, about 1,750 people visited the splash pad, and of that amount about 1,040 were users of the splash pad, those being ages 10 and younger, Sorrell said.
"I've said left and right and back and forth that grandparents should be able to take their own grandchildren to the splash pad for free. If you've got four (nonresident) grandchildren, that's $20," said Councilman Wes Kantor, chairman of council's parks and recreation committee.
"It's the decision of the commission, but I think it's something that should be done," Kantor said.