Parents upset over hours for Tulsa splash pads

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Reported by: Janna Clark
Updated: 7/09/2013 10:25 am Published: 7/09/2013 10:23 am

Lynn Peterson tried to bring her 14-month-old granddaughter, Eleanor, to the splash pad near 41st and Harvard, but it was closed.

She found out the city cut back the hours to save money. Splash pads used to open at 9 a.m., but now they open at noon.

Peterson said she doesn't want to bring Eleanor in the afternoon. That's nap time for little ones and when the rays are the strongest.

"It's a terrible time for her to be in the sun, it's a terrible time for me to be in the sun," Peterson said.

Peterson said she tried to bring Eleanor one afternoon.

"The kids are so big, she was trampled," Peterson said.

She understands the city's short on money, but doesn't agree with cutting back splash pad hours.

"It's a shame to have something so fun for kids, but they really can't use it," Peterson said.

Mike Battenfield with the Tulsa Parks Department said the city didn't want to, but had to cut back.

There are 22 splash pads and 10 water playgrounds. The city said there's no specific budget set aside for them. The cost is included in the department's overall budget.

When faced with a three percent cut, $590,000, the department started closing splash pads one hour earlier and opening them three hours later.

Battenfield said the department is also cutting back on other expenses.

Peterson said she emailed her city councilor and offered a solution – split hours from 9-noon and 4-8 pm. But the city said no.

"It seems like it would be more confusing for people who don't know whether it's open or not," Battenfield said.

Peterson thinks the city's being unreasonable.

"I think we ought to be more flexible with these kids. They're citizens of Tulsa, too," Peterson said.

Right now, Tulsa's splash pads and water playgrounds are open every day 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Grammy - 7/9/2013 9:34 PM
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I have complained too, earlier in the summer when I tried taking my 3 grandchildren to the splash pads. It is CRAZY to open at noon! Open 9-5 or 10-6 at the latest. We are driving all the way to Broken Arrow and Bixby to be able to use splash pads in the morning. Beginning to wonder why I live in Tulsa. Suburbs are looking better and better.
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