WHITEHOUSE — A new splash park is now soaking children as they enjoy some pre-summer fun.
The park, behind the city park on East Main Street, opened Wednesday and drew about 50 children before lunchtime.
It features lounge chairs for parents, two shaded pavilions and a concession area. It also includes a pad 50 feet in diameter and 14 fixtures such as a water dome.
“It's gone good so far. There was a whole bunch (of people, and) it's been exciting …” Whitehouse Parks Director Amanda Chamberlain said as children played behind her.
One person at the park was Higgins Elementary School pre-kindergarten teacher Cathi Patterson, who brought her students over to play.
Ms. Patterson said the children loved the break from their normal class schedule, and things went smoothly on the first day.
“They would sit in the sun and go back out and have a great time. Hopefully they've had a little insight and will tell their mom and dad about it,” she said.
Five-year-old Kailee Bowens certainly seemed to have fun, saying “I like splashing in the water.”
The cost of a pool or water park would have been too much of a burden financially, so the splash park is a compromise, city officials have said.
“It will be something not only for the citizens but will make Whitehouse a recreation destination (and) a nice, new, safe place where you can bring toddlers. ... It'll be one of the things that will help make Whitehouse a destination,” City Manager Mike Peterson said last summer.
Assistant City Manager Kevin Huckabee echoed Peterson, saying at the time, “We're ecstatic about this. (The city) put a lot of work in this, and the Parks and Recreation board has been working on this. People are just excited something like this is going in for the children of our community.”
Admission will normally be $2. If the park becomes overcrowded, the city might charge a little more for people who live outside Whitehouse, Huckabee has said. A group discount rate will be offered to schools and day cares.
Normal operating hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. However, the park will be available for after-hours rentals.
For more information about group rates, party reservations and scheduling, contact Ms. Chamberlain at 903-839-4914 ext. 227.