Garden Rapids grand opening set for May 29

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Work continues on the Garden Rapids water park project. The facility is scheduled to have its grand opening on May 29.

Three special events are coming to Garden Rapids at the Big Pool before in the month of May.

Jennifer Cunningham, Garden City Assistant City Manager, informed the Garden City Commission of the events at their regular meeting Tuesday.

The first event is on May 22, which will be a staff day.

Cunningham said it will be for city employees and their children to come and enjoy the pool and they will take photos to get promotional images and videos for the pool.

"It's a great time for us to get a lot of good video and photos and things like that that we can use for different events throughout the year, but it's also a way for us to say thank you to all of the staff who have worked really hard to help this all go off without a hitch," she said.

Representatives from SplashTacular, who provided all of the slides, and McCownGordon, the contractors, will also be present.

The event also gives pool staff such as lifeguards, concession attendants, etc. the ability to have a dry run-through before the grand opening, Cunningham said.

The second event is on May 28, which is a stakeholders reception for the pool.

The third event is the grand opening of the pool on May 29 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

During the two hour window, it will be free to get into the pool, but afterward people will have to pay to get in, Cunningham said. From 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. it will be first come, first served, but a break will be taken at 2 p.m. and people will have to pay to come back in.

"Not everyone is going to get to participate in the grand opening, we do have a max capacity of 1,800, and if we were to hit that, anyone over that they would have to wait," she said. "We're trying to make that first two hours be something that is come in, look around, maybe swim a little bit, and then give someone else an opportunity if we're really backed up."

An update on Buffalo Dunes Golf Course was also given at the meeting as part of the budgeting process for the year.

Jason Hase, Buffalo Dunes head golf professional, said there has been an increase in the number of rounds played at the course over the past three years.

"In 2019 at the end of April we had done 2,827 rounds, in 2020 we had done 3,422 and in 2021 we've done 4,418," he said.

In the next two years Hase said they will have to look at purchasing new golf carts, probably in 2023.

"That'll be year seven of what we've got right now. We're going into season number five with them, they're in excellent shape, but that is definitely a possibility that we may need to look at," he said.

Garden City finance director Melinda Hitz said they've planned on a five-year plan for golf cart purchases, but because of the mechanic at the golf course, they've been able to extend the life of the current carts.

Clay Payne, golf course superintendent, said they are moving along in the Golf Course Improvement Plan, which they started implementing in 2020, and plan to have completed in 2026 to make the golf courses 50th anniversary.

"We wanted to kind of get this plan created and established and kind of show the future for the next 50 years," he said. "Last year was our first year, we did three greens, we did one green this spring and we plan to do another three this fall. We'll have seven of the 18 holes halfway complete."

They spent $18,000 on improvements in 2020. Payne said the course's architect in Kansas City said that if the same scope of work was done there it would have cost around $300,000.

Payne's thankful for the creative thinking of his staff that has kept the costs so low.

Others have started to notice the golf course after its improvements, Payne said. In June 2021 the course will be recognized by Golf Magazine as one of the Top 25 municipal golf courses in the country.

"This is the first time we've received this honor, I think it's a big testament to you guys for the course improvement plan, our staff to implement it, and it's not only our staff, one of the greens was sodded by local community members, so this it's a whole community," he said. "Hopefully this is something that Municipalities around the country can look at and we can be an example of a way to create a really cool green space for their community."

Also at the meeting a presentation was given on the city's Water Conservation and Drought Plan by Fred Jones, the city Water Resource manager.

One highlight Jones gave on the plan is that Garden City has reduced its gallons per capita day from 229 gallons in 2012 to 162 gallons in 2021.

"In a course of a little less than 10 years we've reduced that by 67 gallons, you multiply that times the population times 365 days in the year or in case of the last year 366 days, you come up with a fairly significant amount of water," he said. "We're glad to see that trend going down."

Jones also informed the Commission on the city's emergency response plan as 2021 is the first year of the implementation of the America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, where any public water supply with a population over 3,300 are required to "do a couple steps."

"Basically the primary change is a methodology for which we're looking at risks within our water system ... and ensuring that our response plan is formatted to EPA guidelines," he said. "Those are going to be required of most public water supplies in the U.S. That's going to be a big change this year and we'll keep the Commission up to date on that process."