The Spray and Play at Veterans Park has become a staple in the community during the summer since it opened in June.
Moms and dads continue to bring their children to cool down at the wet dinosaur-themed splash pad or burn some excessive energy at the nearby playground at the new recreation facility, which shares a parking lot with the Delaware Community Center YMCA on Houk Road.
The YMCA will host its annual block party 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Spray and Play this year, featuring family games, food trucks and live music performed by local acoustic rock duo, Lucky Penny Sisters.
And yes, the splash pad will be turned on for the event, sponsored by Modern Woodman with community supporters Jessica Forman of State Farm, Byers Auto Group and Domtar.
“The splash pad has been an awesome addition to Veterans Park and the YMCA,” said Roger Hanafin, YMCA executive director. “We have seen nothing but positives from the new park opening. Many park goers have stopped into the YMCA to see what we have to offer and even to join.”
The YMCA has had an increase in the number of calls asking about the Splash Pad including hours. The city changed the splash pad’s hours Tuesday to 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.
“We have not seen any discernible change in membership numbers due to the opening of the splash pad,” he said. “[But] we find people seeing more value in their Y membership as they can come to the Y and use the park, splash pad or indoor Y facilities, especially if it starts raining on your splash pad trip.”
The YMCA handles the rentals for the Spray and Play’s three-season shelter on behalf of the city, and the shelter was a huge hit with birthday parties, reunions, and other special outings, Hanafin said.
“The shelter was rented almost every Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer,” he said.
The city has responded to residents concerns about safety features of the spray and play including the playground’s turf area. The Parks and Natural Resources Department has coordinated with the contractor to address the concerns.
“We are happy to answer any questions and help when we can, but the park is a city park and any issues with the park should be directed to the city,” Hanafin said.
On the other hand, parking hasn’t been an issue despite full activities at the Splash Pad, YMCA and the adjoining National Guard building, he added.