By Conrad Dudderar
Six years after opening its first splash pad at one Yukon park, the City of Yukon has been awarded a $400,000 grant to help fund a new water play feature and playground upgrades at a second park.
The grant will be used to build a new splash pad (also known as a spray ground) and a new inclusive playground at Freedom Trail Park, 2101 S Holly.
City of Yukon grant writer Claudia Krshka in July 2019 submitted a request to the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department for a 50/50 reimbursable Land & Water Conservation Fund grant through the National Park Service.
Total estimated project cost is $800,000 and the local share will be $400,000 – to include in-kind contributions.
“The grant was written to replace the aging Freedom Trail Park playground and build a spray ground also at the site,” Krshka said.
Construction of the new splash pad and playground will be done together – “this fall at the earliest”, she added.
Formal design plans must be completed and requests for proposals solicited from contractors. City officials also want to wait until after the summer to begin work at the park.
“Tentatively, the splash pad will be just north of the existing playground although plans are subject to change,” Krshka said. “All the existing playground equipment will be replaced.”
Splash pads are recreation areas for water play with little or no standing water. There is no need for lifeguards or other supervision and little risk of drowning.
“A new splash pad at Freedom Trail Park will be great for Yukon,” Yukon Parks & Recreation Director Jan Scott said. “This is a really large grant.”
The Sunrise Splash Pad at Sunrise Park, 550 S Yukon Parkway, has been open since 2014. This spray ground is “crazy” busy all summer keeping local youth cool and wet, Scott noted.
“The splash pad at Sunrise is so popular,” she said. “It’s really nice for the little kids. The park board had requested a second one on the other side of town so we’re very excited.”
Director Scott also is well pleased the grant will help provide new playground equipment at Freedom Trail Park.
“The playground is 25 years old and needs to be updated,” Scott said. “The community built that playground and it is well used.
“We’re always looking to update equipment at all our parks.”
The City of Yukon obtained a Land & Water Conservation Fund grant through the National Park Service six years ago to help fund construction of the Sunrise Splash Pad.