When, if ever, the proposed splash pad at North Domingo Baca Park will be built is anybody’s guess.
During a mid-March interview, City Councilor Brook Bassan said the proposed splash pad could be built as early as this summer. She said the splash pad is a separately funded project from the proposed aquatics center but did not provide an exact cost or timeline for construction. She said the splash pad is one of the mayor’s initiatives.
Ava Montoya, spokesperson for Mayor Tim Keller’s office, said she did not have any information on the splash pad and to contact Municipal Development. A spokesperson for Municipal Development said someone at the Parks and Recreation Department should be able to provide more details, but those details are limited.
“We’re still in the design phase of the project, so we haven’t really finalized that yet,” said Drew Ayotte, Parks and Recreation Department information officer. “We don’t have an expected start date or end date and we don’t have a contractor selected quite yet. We’re just exploring what we can do within our budget.”
When asked if the renderings of the splash pad on the Parks & Recreation website are up to date, Ayotte said, “The renderings are probably going to significantly change just to keep it within a reasonable amount.”
Ayotte did not have any information on the cost of the splash pad but said once the 2023 fiscal budget is finalized at the end of May, Parks and Recreation will have a better idea of what projects will be funded. Ayotte said the budget passed by city council earlier this month still only contains projected costs.
The 2023 budget, as passed by city council, allocates $54.2 million from the general fund toward Parks and Recreation, a $7.9 million increase from the 2022 fiscal budget. Approximately $6.2 million is budgeted for aquatic services, but there is no mention of the North Domingo Baca Park splash pad or proposed aquatics center. The 2023 budget includes $80,000 for aquatics to expand swimming lessons, and “a decrease of $1.9 million for the one-time funding of the spray pads at Alamosa and Westgate.”
Citizens for NDB Aquatic Center website shows $792,000 was set aside for the splash pad in a 2019 grant agreement, but Bassan was working to reallocate that money to the aquatics center, according to the website. “Splash pad funding ($900,000) is supposed to be coming from Mayor Keller’s 2021 budget,” the website says. “Councilor Bassan’s office will be working to correct this — which could result in the $792,000 being properly allocated to the pool.”
In March, Bassan said another $15 million was needed to cover the cost of the estimated $32 million aquatics center project at North Domingo Baca Park. Current and potential future funding for the aquatics center include city, county, state and private sources.
Until either the splash pad or aquatics center projects are complete, residents on the far northeast side of town will have to find other options to stay cool this summer.