Having a splash in Thatcher

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Ambrosia Johnson, 12, soaks in the bucket drop at the Thatcher splash pad. The amenity opened for the season Thursday.

Splash pad opens for summer

By Jon Johnson


THATCHER – The Thatcher splash pad officially opened for its summer season Thursday, and even with cooler, windy conditions, the water drew in children like moths to a flame.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Avalon Johnson, 7, basks in a cascade of water.

Thatcher’s splash pad was first opened in May 2014 to much fanfare after roughly five years of planning. The splash pad is designed to use approximately 1,000 to 1,100 gallons of water per day of heavy use during the summer months.

It features three sprayers children can aim, a tunnel of jets, a central spray/splash unit that includes a bucket of water drop, and other sprayers of different strengths. The water at the Thatcher splash pad is recycled through a sand filter and reused, making it use less water than a swimming pool.

Indeed, the whole park is utility conservation friendly, with sprinklers that have rain sensors, basketball court lights that are motion activated, and waterless urinals in the men’s bathroom. 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Blade Johnson, 4, sits near a sprinkler while watching his siblings.
Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Avalon Johnson checks out a sprinkler at the splash pad.

In addition to the splash pad, the $750,000 facility located off Ball Park Street also includes sand volleyball and basketball courts, four picnic ramadas with tables and barbecue grills, and playground structures featuring recycled rubber surfacing all shaded by a 50-foot by 50-foot ramada.

The restroom facilities, which were constructed with the assistance from a $200,000 community development block grant, also houses the splash pad’s pump room. The city of Safford recently voted to use its roughly $200,000 community development block grant this year to rebuild the restrooms at Glenn Meadows Park and install rubber surfacing to make the playground more accessible to those with disabilities.

Splash pads are more young child-friendly because there is no standing water, which virtually eliminates the risk of drowning. Additionally, splash pads do not require a lifeguard and the water features activate with a push of a button, making sure not to waste water and power running the system when nobody is using it.

The Thatcher splash pad is open Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. and is a free amenity open for all to use.