This week, workers tested out the splash park under construction in Oak Harbor’s Windjammer Park for the first time.
Water sprayed from the many hidden points on the pretend shipwreck and craggy stream that will doubtlessly delight countless children once the weather turns warm.
“It’s designed to be a place where they can explore and have fun,” said Brett Arvidson, project manager for the city’s new sewage treatment plant and adjacent park reconstruction.
The city is planning a grand opening of the splash park as well as the entire Windjammer Park on June 29. In the meantime, the city is looking to creative young minds to help name the new water attraction.
The naming contest is open to children from 5 to 18 years old and ends May 2. The hope is to find a name that represents Oak Harbor heritage, life or nature, Arvidson said. The entry rules and other information is on the city’s website, www.oakharbor.org
Windjammer Park has been closed for a year because construction of adjacent treatment plant tore up the waterfront property. But the project funded much of the park restoration.
The splash park features large boulders and logs formed from concrete with realistic details, such as starfish and mussels.
The water-spraying system is computerized and allows for different “play modules.”
It will utilize city water, Arvidson said, not cleaned effluent from the plant or even recirculated water.
Nearby is a new play area that looks like fallen trees and rocks and a large plaza area designed for a multitude of special events.
A pavilion built from large beams and stone is completed; it was designed to be the “gateway” to the park and serve as a covered stage area, Arvidson explained.
Finishing touches are being done to the new double kitchen on the west side of the park. The $1-million structure matches the architectural look of the pavilion and the kitchen on the other side of the park.
The large kitchen doesn’t have ovens, grills or other kitchen equipment, but there’s electricity for hot plates and portable grills can be brought under the large covered area, Arvidson said.
Arvidson said the city will likely continue the practice of letting people reserve the kitchens for a nominal fee.
The stainless steel Portland loos are in place. The public bathrooms are designed to be easily cleaned and to discourage people from camping out or otherwise using them for non-bathroom-related reasons.
Trees, including many Garry oaks, have been planted around the park. Workers were scheduled to seed much of the property with grass this week.
The project is right on schedule, Arvidson said, for both the grand opening and the Fourth of July festivities.