Ontario Splash Park will reopen on Friday with new additions: fees, sign-in and waiver

Ontario’s Splash Park, which opened May 30 at Lions Park on Southwest Fourth Avenue was free for users in 2019. This year, however, those over the age of 6 will have to pay a fee.

ONTARIO — With summer temperatures rising, the Ontario Recreation District has announced the Ontario Splash Park at Lions Park on Southwest Fourth Avenue is getting ready to reopen.

According to Ontario Recreation District Executive Director Andrew Maeda, the Board of Directors is planning to open the facility on Friday. The splash park was closed for the season on Sept. 2, 2019.

The Ontario Splash Park was originally scheduled to open on May 25 (Memorial Day), however that was delayed due to the pandemic brought on by the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

In order to abide by state guidelines related to the virus, the recreation district will be conducting routine cleanings of chairs and the restrooms at the Splash Park.

Patrons will also be required to sign in and provide basic information in the case that the recreation district must communicate with local health authorities. There is also a COVID-19 waiver that must be filled out, Maeda said.

The last issue keeping the park from reopening is the construction taking place for the bathrooms at the adjacent skate park, which is slated to wrap up soon.

“We simply cannot have the public within the facility while construction with large equipment is being used,” said Maeda.

A new cost

After initial outcry over the proposal of a $2 admission fee from the grassroots group which got the splash pad concept off the ground, the City of Ontario opted to forego any such fee. The city managed the park briefly before handing it over to the newly formed taxpayers’ Recreation District on July 1, 2019. That decision was made by the City Council during a regular meeting on May 21, 2019. At the time, City Manager Adam Brown said in conversations with Recreation District Board members, he was told the board was not planning to charge an admission fee once they took over operation of the facilities, and recommended the council follow that lead.

This year, however, the district has added a $1 charge for anyone who is over 6 years old to enter the facility. There will also be season passes for $30 for unlimited visits that will cover a family of up to five. There is a $8 punch card that is good for 10 visits to the Splash Park.

According to a news release from Maeda, the decision to charge an entrance fee is due to upkeep of the facility and to make sure that patrons are using it properly.

Information about the Recreation District’s budget specifics was not available by press time.

“The decision to charge this year is due to several situations in the previous year regarding individuals entering and using the facility to bathe, change, or misuse the facility by wearing incorrect attire while immersed in the water,” reads the release.

Nik Streng is the sports reporter for the Argus Observer. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a master's degree in journalism, after graduating from Pacific University in 2013 with a degree in creative writing.

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