By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Joyner neighborhood residents and others who use City Park will likely wait at least eight months for construction to begin on a splash pad.
Mayor Jason Shelton has changed his mind on supporting a $400,000 splash pad – a water feature that shoots multiple streams simultaneously – for this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
He initially supported funding for the project in the current budget year when he made public adding $2.1 million to the city’s capital projects budget; however, he changed his mind after some council members voiced concerns.
City Council members will likely vote on Tuesday for Shelton’s plan to add funding for six big-ticket projects during a four-year period. Funding will remain for City Park’s splash pad, just not this year. Shelton said other projects supported with the new funding are time sensitive.
Ward 7 Councilman Willie Jennings said he wanted the city to build a splash pad at Theron Nichols Park the same year as City Park’s similar project began, while Ward 1 Councilman Markel Whittington questioned both projects.
Shelton said funding the project in the 2015 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, could allow construction to begin during the 2014 calendar year.
“Quite frankly, it’s not something that can be started on immediately anyway,” Shelton said Thursday.
Ward 2 Councilman Lynn Bryan, who represents the Joyner neighborhood, said he understands reasoning for shifting the project to the next fiscal year.
“I don’t think it is designed yet,” he said. “It will take a month to bid it after the design, another month for them to start, contract approval, et cetera.”
Tupelo Parks and Recreation stopped use of City Park’s pool after December’s grand opening of the $12 million aquatic center in Veteran’s Memorial Park.