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Grand opening of Carefree splash pad set for Oct. 18


Tara Alatorre

CAREFREE – Come celebrate the last lingering days of the summer heat at the Carefree Kiwanis Splash Park’s grand opening and dedication ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 18. Festivities start at 1:30 p.m. The newly designed water park is free to use and is located on the east side of the Desert Gardens near the Sundial.

The local Carefree Kiwanis Club donated the funds for the new splash pad, which features a custom-built scorpion named “Kiwani” as the centerpiece. The centerpiece has motion-activated electronic sensors that make it “come to life when users least expect it, combined with 12 adjustable ground spray jets and LED lighting, according to the town’s marketing director Gina Kaegi.

The new water park uses only one-tenth of the water capacity of an average swimming pool by capturing, sanitizing, and recirculating the water used at the park. The underground reservoirs that capture and recirculate the water reduce evaporation, and the motion-activated sensors minimize electricity usage combined with an automatic shut-off feature, the Carefree Mayor explained in a phone interview.

“There is less evaporation than a swimming pool,” said Mayor Les Peterson. “It uses very little water.”

The community had been requesting a park with activities more suitable for the intense summer heat endured by full-time residents, plus the town council had already considered building a unique water feature as part of a larger revitalization plan for downtown Carefree, he said.

 “We thought for some time now it made sense for us to have one as well,” said Mayor Peterson.

According to a slide show presented at a town council meeting this June, the goal of the new water park is to create a unique and memorable experience that encourage visitors of all ages to come to the Desert Gardens outside of special events in the downtown area, encouraging more local spending.