Parks and Recreation hears splash park update

Work on the splash park at Saracen Landing is progressing, Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Department Director April Layher told the Parks and Recreation Commission on Monday.

“It is proceeding pretty well,” Layher said. “The splash park committee has been meeting monthly for the past three months. Colors have been chosen. It should be finished up by mid- to late September. It won’t be ready for use until next year but the water jets can be programmed to dance to music. I am looking into the possibility of syncing the fountains up with Christmas music during the Land of Lights and Legends this year.”

Layher said that she recently hired a new office manager after receiving about 20 applications and interviewing nine candidates. Jerricka Handley will begin work on July 7, she said.

The commission discussed the possibility of installing structures over metal picnic tables in area parks to make them usable during the hot summer months.

“I have had several inquiries about putting shade structures up at J. C. Jeffries Park,” Layher said. “I told them that there is no money in the budget for it. We should look into working with area Neighborhood Watch programs to raise funds to purchase shade structures.”

The idea of purchasing large canvas tents like those used during graveside funeral services and then renting them to the public was put forward by Commission Chairman Jeff Pulliam.

“We could charge a fee for this and people could use the tents to keep the exposed metal picnic tables cool,” Pulliam said.

The commission agreed to look into the feasibility of both options.

Layher said that a covered pier on the west end of Saracen Landing appears to be unsafe for foot traffic.

“I went out on Lake Saracen with my husband in his boat to get a better look at the pilings for the pier,” Layher said. “Some of them are bending inward and the pier itself does not appear to be sitting on the pier supports correctly. It is really a public safety hazard and I believe that we need to prevent access to it to protect park visitors.”

Layher and the commission were unsure as to whose pier it is.