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Gazette Staff

A proposal to provide funding for a spray park at Highland Park will be considered at tonight's City Council meeting.

The council asked staff last month to prepare a proposed amendment to the city's Capital Improvement Plan to investigate options for funding a spray park at Highland. The proposal prepared for tonight's meeting calls for spending $100,000 from the city's general-fund reserves and $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant money to build it.

City wading pools at Highland, Castlerock and Veterans parks were closed three years ago because of health violations. Since then, the city has been studying the possibility of converting the closed wading pools to spray parks, which use less water and fewer chemicals and don't require as much supervision or maintenance.

Several South Side residents who live near Highland Park said last year that they would prefer to have a wading pool at the park. At that time, the council decided that neighborhoods should have a voice in what kinds of aquatic facilities to build in their neighborhoods.

A report from City Parks and Recreation Director Don Kearney says neighborhood residents prefer having a spray park, and it would serve children who may not be able to travel to South Park.

On the other hand, the proposal is somewhat inconsistent with the recommendations included in the aquatic study. It would eliminate the requirements for a special improvement district and a park-maintenance district and it would reduce the city's reserves by $100,000.

The meeting convenes at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

The council will meet in closed session beginning at 6 p.m. to discuss litigation.

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