The two wading pools in our neighborhood, at Powell Barnett Park and Peppi’s Playground, have been closed for more than 5 years due to cutbacks in the funding by the Department of Parks and Recreation. The Parks Department has pushed for the development of water spray parks instead. Although spray parks consume less water because of recycling the water, they cost up to a million dollars to construct and are very expensive to repair.
Wading pools are much beloved in our neighborhood because they have the advantage of low stress use by the smaller tots, plus a place for parents to dip their feet on hot days and talk with neighbors. Most of us have happy memories of our own childhoods or of parenting at wading pools.
Instead of filling our convenient wading pools, the Parks Department wants our parents and children to travel to the Volunteer Park wading pool- which is an impractical trip by bus for parents with tots and not easy by car. Alternatively, the Department suggests using the spray park at Pratt Park, but that was recently shutdown. The spray park at Judkins Park was recently updated, but spray parks do not address the needs of the youngest children or provide the passive ambiance for parents.
The communities served by Powell Barnett Park and Peppi’s Playground — Garfield, Madrona, Leschi, and Squire Park — are ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods that should be benefiting from the wading pool program. Let’s ask the Department of Parks and Recreation to re-open the wading pools at Powell Barnett Park and/or Peppi’s Playground permanently starting this summer.