Local man proposes city skate pad, splash park | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | June 29, 2017 5:00 pm
Last Updated: June 28, 2017 at 12:05 pm
Eddie Rumfelt is excited about the new splash pad at the Rec Center — but he has bigger plans in mind.
Rumfelt wants the city to build a combination splash pad and skate park — something to accommodate both youngsters and teens year-round.
The problem with the Rec Center project, he said, is that it’s a small floor jet-type spray pad with no water features. While it would offer those attending tournaments a place to cool off, it’s not really a convenient location for city residents. Plus, Rumfelt has concerns about the high volume of traffic at sporting events creating a lack of parking which is already a problem at the center. “Many Walterboro residents feel the Rec Center is a very inconvenient location, especially if the city is trying to draw interstate traffic into the city,” he said.
His proposal is for the city to buy 5-8 acres and built both a slightly more elaborate splash pad and a skate park with parking and restrooms. “Many small cities are finding the funds through various parks and recreation grants, local business sponsorships and even community fundraising to build these types of parks,” he said. His proposal is “nothing too extravagant. Just something here in Walterboro for the kids to do — that’s the really big need right now,” he said. “The violence is really bad right now. I’ve lived in Walterboro my whole life — I was a teenager here at one time too, and I know there’s nothing to do.” (A 2000 graduate of Walterboro High School, the Rumfelt family has lived here since 1979, when Eddie’s grandfather opened McDonald’s.)
The second part of the plan — a skateboarding park — would offer teens a safer alterative to the local hangout spots. “While a splash pad is closed during the cooler months, a skate park would generate revenue all year. Constructing a skate park at the same time as the splash pad would be best economically, since they would share the cost of the same raw materials like rebar, dirt and concrete,” he said. Building a block wall between the two areas could provide separation, while still allowing kids to interact.
Although splash pads are “pretty much self-running,” Rumfelt feels someone would need to be there to oversee the area. “For Walterboro I think it would be better to have a fenced-in facility with admission fees — people would care more about it if they have to pay to get in. Rules and regulations and admission fees would cut back on the damage done. Kids are rough on things.”
He knows because he has two sons of his own, 11 and 6, and they were a big part of his realization that more youth-oriented activities are needed here. “The city did a good job when they redid all the parks. But my oldest son is getting bored with that. We live literally a block from the park, so we go there at least twice a week. And my kids aren’t really into sports, so that’s not an option.”
Anyone interested in the project can sign a petition supporting the park at https://www.change.org/p/ask-the-city-of-walterboro-to-work-with-citizens-to-build-a-splash-pad-skate-park.