June 6, 2024 at 1:32 p.m.

Open, waiting

Water Park opened as scheduled on May 25; heater installation waiting on delivery of parts
Portland Water Park opened on Memorial Day weekend with 374 visitors on opening day. Attendance hit 480 on Monday. Almost 100 season passes have been sold and all evening rentals have been filled. The facility is waiting on delivery of parts for the installation of a heater, which will allow the water park to be open in cooler weather. (The Commercial Review/Ray Cooney)
Portland Water Park opened on Memorial Day weekend with 374 visitors on opening day. Attendance hit 480 on Monday. Almost 100 season passes have been sold and all evening rentals have been filled. The facility is waiting on delivery of parts for the installation of a heater, which will allow the water park to be open in cooler weather. (The Commercial Review/Ray Cooney)

Attendance at Portland Water Park has been weather-dependent.

A solution to that issue is coming.

Portland Park Board heard an update Monday from Portland Water Park manager Eliza Bader on the opening week-plus of the season and learned about the status of the pending installation of a heater for the pool.

Bader reported that the water park had 374 visitors on opening day — Saturday, May 25 — followed by just 65 on May 26. (The high temperature was in the 80s on opening day while conditions were cooler and rainy a day later.)

Attendance was at 480 Monday.

Almost 100 season passes have been sold, including 41 single passes and 21 two-person passes.

Bader also told the board that all evening rental slots have been filled through Aug. 10. Six morning rentals are still available.

She said the facility has 25 lifeguards currently on staff with three more working on their certifications.

Parks manager Ronnie Reynolds added that he had to do quite a bit of adjusting to chemicals at the water park during the first weekend but everything has leveled out since then.

Street and parks department superintendent Matt Shauver addressed the status of a water park heater that was approved for purchase in April. He said the heater was delivered late last month but D&D Plumbing, which will handle the installation, is still waiting for custom parts to come in. Once the parts are delivered, the heater will be installed. Shauver said he can’t provide a more specific timeline, but noted that D&D ordered the parts at the same time the heater was ordered.

Answering a question from park board president Brian Ison, Shauver said he does not expect the facility to need to be closed in order to complete the installation.

Also regarding the water park, Ison reported that a business has expressed interest in sponsoring a free pool day. Board members discussed setting a cost for such a sponsorship — they talked about $1,000 to $1,250 — and making it available to anyone who would be interested.

Ison said he will talk with city officials and move forward with finalizing details.

Board members John McFarland, Michael Brewster, Jennifer Herndon and Ison, absent Shauna Runkle, also voted to move forward with an ordinance regulating alcohol use in all parks. The board had discussed the issue at its May meeting. 

Ison told his fellow board members that the park board and city council approved a resolution in 2018 that allows alcohol at Hudson Family Park for amphitheater events. But it does not address the other parks and board members expressed concern that the guidelines are vague. They decided to move forward with a more detailed ordinance presented by city attorney Wes Schemenaur last month. It will now move to city council for approval.

Reynolds also told board members about an issue with pumps in the fountains at Hudson Family Park. He said an inspection indicated that the issue was caused by an Indiana Michigan Power fuse that serves the area. He said Portland clerk-treasurer Lori Phillips is working with insurance firms to seek reimbursement for the fountains, which are now inoperable.

A quote to have one of the fountains replaced came in at $13,730.

In other business, the board:

•Heard from Shauver that seasonal employees have been hired and are working on weeding and spraying in the parks.

•Approved installation of a new steel railing for the gazebo at Hudson family Park. Tri Kappa sorority donated $2,000, which will cover half of the cost.

•Approved a request from local pickleball players to place a plaque in honor of Roger Prescott, a pickleball enthusiast who died last month, at the new pickleball courts in Milton Miller Park.

•Learned from Shauver that mulch deliveries will begin next week, beginning with Haynes Park.

•Heard from Ison that 2025 budget requests have been sent to Phillips.


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