Franklin Pool festivities in full swing

Published 5:25 pm Thursday, May 31, 2018

Mother Nature may have put a damper on opening day, but the Joe LaPorte, Jr. Recreation Area will soon experience a high amount of foot traffic from visitors.

Elizabethton Parks and Recreation recently announced that the Franklin Pool is now opened to the public. Mike Mains, Parks & Rec director, confirmed to the Elizabethton Star Thursday afternoon that the facility did not have to close early due to weather.

“It was a little bit of a slow opening because of the rain,” Mains said. “But we’re good to go.”

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Franklin Pool will be open throughout the week until 5:30 p.m. each day until Labor Day weekend.

While visitors will see some of the normal amenities when visiting this year, one of the newest additions to the facility is a splash pad.

Parks & Rec worked alongside Rich Construction, based out of Knoxville, to have the splash pad ready to go for this year. Mains stated the pad is a replacement for the older-baby pool, which deteriorated over time.

“We’re thankful for all the parties that helped make this possible,” Mains said about having the splash pad available. “This really helps service a need for the public. The splash pad can be used for all ages and serves as a perfect replacement for the baby pool.”

Installation of the splash pad has been two years in the making. The Elizabethton Star reported in late 2016 that Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Sen. Rusty Crowe, Rep. John Holsclaw and Rep. Timothy Hill were able to secure a Local Park and Recreation Fund grant from the state. The grant was a 50-50 matching grant worth $100,000.

According to Parks & Rec staff, the splash pad is also expected to save costs compared to other alternatives. With the water being circulated through the pool and back into the pad, city officials estimated roughly over $100,000 worth of savings since there were no additional items needed to facilitate the pad.

Excitement has been circulating across the region following the announcement of the splash pad. Due to it being a replacement for the baby pool, residents will have to pay the admission at Franklin Pool to use the splash pad. Due to the excitement generated from the project, Mains added the department is looking at possibly installing future projects, like a splash pad, at other locations across the area.

“We want to offer different items to the public so they enjoy their time in the city,” Mains recently told the Star. “With support, we would be able to add other possible items, like another splash pad, at a separate location in the city.”

To learn more about the different events going on with the department, visit their website or call (423) 547-6441. Information on the upcoming pool season can also be viewed on the Parks & Rec’s website.