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Splash pad petition grows

A public petition asking Walterboro City Council to build a public splash pad has reached more than 1,000 signatures in just two months, with the petition’s ultimate goal sitting at only 430 signatures away.
The petition is located on the www.change.org Website, a site that lets people create a petition for the change in their community. The petition specifically calls for a splash pad and skateboarding park to be built in the city. The petition began in May by Walterboro resident Eddie Rumfelt, who vowed to speak to City Council on the subject and turn in the final petition to city leaders.
Since creating the petition, it now has 1,030 signatures … and counting. Rumfelt is also reporting on the public site that he has spoken with Walterboro Mayor Bill Young, who “supports” the idea.
“We would love for Walterboro City Council to consider working with the community to build and maintain a splash pad (Water playground) by applying for the appropriate grants for land and construction,” said Rumfelt, in his petition.
In a recent interview with The Colletonian, Rumfelt says he was inspired by his two children to create more hands-on activities in Walterboro. He also has identified three potential sites for the park, with the first spot being located next to ACE Hardware. His second-preferred spot is located across from Wendy’s in a vacant lot. Rumfelt says city officials have not yet identified a potential spot, but he says he wants the splash pad and skateboard park to be located near the heart of Walterboro. “I also want enough room for it to possibly expand to include a lazy river,” he said.
“A lot of people have said they want a pool, but the city says insurance policies don’t allow for that. It’s too big of a risk,” he said. “And the skateboard park is something for older teens to do. I used to skate in parking lots all the time in Walterboro and got told to leave.”
“City insurance policies are not increasing and are the same as installing playground equipment since there is no risk of drowning because of no standing water,” he said. “They also have lower operating and maintenance costs than a pool because of no need for lifeguards.”
Rumfelt says there is a “huge need” for this type of activity in Colleton County. He cites local crime spikes, particularly those crimes that involve gang activity and younger adults and teens.
“There is a huge need in our city for something for our growing number of teens and youth to do and this would be the perfect solution,” he said, about the splash pad and the skate park.
According to Rumfelt, the skate park would be used when the water feature could not be available, like in colder weather. He also says the feature would be great for visitors and families who are coming to the area for newly-featured tourist attractions.
“A skate park would be available for local competitions for revenue, and would be an excellent, safe meeting place for the youth in the months that the splash pad is not being used,” he said.
Each of the more than 1,000 signatures on the petition involve positive comments about the idea. Amya Bunton, who says she is from Walterboro, posted on May 21 that this idea would “give the kids more stuff to do” outside of driving to Summerville or Charleston. “Let’s keep our bucks in the ‘Boro’!” she writes.
The idea of building a splash pad was also presented as part of an incoming expansion at the Colleton County Recreational Complex. This expansion is being funded with dollars supplied through the Capital Improvement Sales Tax, an additional one-cent sales tax approved by Colleton voters via a referendum vote more than two ago. The actual expansion of the recreation center is going to bid, with designs of the complex expected to soon be released. “It’s been a long time coming,” Recreation Director Chris Myers says of the expansion.

Heather Walters (1494 Posts)