The splash pad at Holland Park, briefly Palm Coast’s crown jewel but now its parks’ most beleaguered black eye, will have its 10,000 square feet of surface padding torn up and discarded starting Monday, and stretching for at least a week, possibly more.
The removal of the rubbery, once-colorful “poured-in-place” or “PIP” surface material will be done by city crews. It’s not part of any reconstruction, but the reverse: the city is attempting to reverse-engineer the problem that led to the splash park’s fatal malfunction, forcing it to shut down a year ago after being opened only in late spring of 2021, and for a few weeks of that summer.
“We didn’t want to give false hopes that it’s being repaired, because it’s still not at that stage,” Brittany Kershaw, the city’s chief spokesperson, said today.
Removing the surface is a necessary step as crews and a consultant, Marine Aquatic Design and Engineering, the city hired for up to $50,000 last June examine the underpinnings of the splash pad to determine what went wrong and whose responsibility it was among the major contractors who built the pad, a $5.1 million project that was part of Holland Park’s $6.3 million latest revamp, completed in 2021. (See: “Splash Pad Boondoggle at Holland Park: Council Considers Suing Builders and Scrapping $5.1 Million Amenity.”)
There are several contractors. For now, none of them is taking sole responsibility, if any responsibility at all. Last spring, the city issued a notice of claims to each of them. That notice is the precursor of legal action. The contractors have agreed to take part in mediation, “and the parties are working together to understand why the splash pad is not performing properly and how to resolve this matter effectively,” a city release issued today states.
Mediation is not taking place until October. That could potentially make further legal proceedings unnecessary. (Should the matter result in a civil lawsuit, mediation would be required then, too.) But the results of the analysis of the splash pad’s underpinnings will presumably pin blame on one contractor or another.
Those underpinnings are a maze of materials, including 23 miles of piping. Part of the analysis will include running water through the system. “This will be the first step, tearing up that surfacing, in identifying the true extent of all the issues with the splash pad, and trying to identify the cause and who is responsible,” Kershaw said.
In a best-case scenario, the city is hoping to find out what went wrong, find out who was responsible, then require that contractor to assume the costs of repairs, even if it’s not that contractor that will carry out the repairs. The city does not want to be in a position to shoulder the costs of rebuilding the p[ad at its own additional expense. There is also a possibility, considered by city council members in a discussion last spring, that the splash pad will not be rebuilt, but rather replaced with something else.
The design team was S&ME, the contractor was BBI Construction management, and a BBI subcontractor called No Fault, a Baton Rouge, La.-based company that specializes in playground and splash pad construction.
Martin Aquatic Design and Engineering is conducting the assessment and working on repair plan. It’ll draft a detailed report outlining the assessment and evaluation of the conditions of the splash pad. The report will be submitted to the city administration and the city council in October or November. The report will include an analysis of the extent of repairs required to safely re-open the splash pad.
Meanwhile the city is keeping track of city staff’s hours spent on the splash pad, so that it may be reimbursed for those expenses pending the resolution of the city’s issues with contractors.
“The City recognizes the inconvenience this causes to families,” the release states, “however, the City’s priority is to provide a safe and enjoyable experience at all parks. The City is committed to working with community professionals to develop an efficient, comprehensive repair to the splash pad so it may be used for its intended purpose and serve the community at large.”
Holland Park remains open for all other recreational activities. This includes the expansive playground, sports fields, dog park, tennis and pickleball courts, covered pavilions, shuffleboard and bocce ball courts, sand volleyball court, basketball courts, and more.
1/4 acre, this thing needs to be removed completely, put Bocce or Petanque courts there. Document & sue the company that built it in the 1st place. No raise for Palm Coast Council until a resolution makes it clearer what this incompetence has cost the city.
Fun while it lasted says
Finally, At least some action. Awfully hot summer still in progress sure would have been nice!
Hope it can be diagnosed and resolved. It’s a great amenity.
Why piss all of this money away on consultants. The people who installed it are the ones responsible. Make them replace it or sue the crap out of them!! Hire Morgan and Morgan.
That would be stupid, spend more money on legal fees to sue; sue who and with what evidence. The contractors are denying responsibility (or at least to the extent the City wants them too).
They are taking the right course of action. Gather evidence, determine who is at fault, then attempt mediation and sue as a last resort. Morgan & Morgan? I think not.
This town has never taken the right course of action. They keep shelling out money at our expense. It’s unfortunate but this is what you get with corrupt leadership !!!!
Once again the City officials are throwing the City of PC taxpayers money down the drain. They waste so much money by their poor choices at our expense. It is time to clean house and get people in there that know how to really run this town.
Dennis C Rathsam says
When I was a young boy, I’d watch my black & white T.V, after school & watch the 3 Stooges…I would laugh at their antickes, & though how unbelieveable stupit these gentlemen precived to be.But in real life they were ordinary people with a brain, & scrooples. Sadly to say the city of Palm Coast has reminded me of MOE LARRY & CURLY…..no brains, definatly no scrooples…. How do we let this happen time time & again? Everything they do is 1/2 ass…Palm Coast the city of DO OVERS!
I recently spent time in Phoenix AZ. They have splash pads at numerous parks and they all work, no issues like Palm Coast. Any one think of talking to a city that has splash pads that work and maybe get some insight. Nope I don’t think so, this is Palm Coast, everything is done ass backwards here. Everyone in that city hall knows everything, all their heads are too big, everyone is a “know it all”. I really can’t believe nothing has been done all year. But thats typical of government, especially Palm Coast government.
Or maybe look at the splash pad at the Saint Augustine Beach pier park.
Curious George says
Without having to do back research, what were the symptoms or the problems in the first place? Leaks? Mold or other toxicities? Low water pressure? Delamination or deterioration of materials? Off-gassing? Pitting? Sinking? What failed???
I clicked on the links to the prior articles to do “back research” for you. It looks like the rubber started cracking, causing trip hazards and a potential for damage to the pumps from the deteriorating rubber. It sounded like there may have been other issues, but the rubber surface deterioration seems like what ultimately led to the shut down.
Bob J says
Jim R says
What exactly was the “fatal malfunction?” No mention in the article of why it was shut down. Symptoms?
Bob J says
While some repairs have been made to the structures, repairs to the rubber pad surfacing is unfinished. The City of Palm Coast is working diligently with all parties including the design architects and contractors to determine next steps moving forward. Environmental supply chain issues have heavily added to the delay of a more prompt resolution.
[email protected] says
Melissa’s Money Pit. Send her the bill, she should have to share the bill with her other friends on the board, who all voted to bring in this mess.
Mischa Gee says
The city could have fixed the pool at the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club, and built another Olympic sized pool in Holland Park, or bought land in another part of town and built another pool there and had money left over to pay lifeguards and upkeep, keeping membership fees low. The Belle Terre pool has incredibly short operating hours and the only other public pool is way to small for this growing population.
We don’t need a splash park that large, which can’t be shared by all. It was and is a ridiculous waste of taxpayers money from the start. File your insurance claim, have them assess who did the damage, and they’ll go after them for reimbursement. Oh, don’t tell me, the splash park wasn’t insured? I hope I’m wrong about this guess.
Don’t forget to vote out the people who are incompetent in handling the use of your tax dollars and give some others a chance to see if they can do a better job. Let’s start over, again and keep doing it, till we get the right people in office.
Waste money, look at town buildings and land buys, remod. issues that are the useless. 2 years now of screwing up contracts with waste mgt. companies that we are paying extra for. The hits to us taxpayers keeps coming . If people didn’t know the money was being misspent they would think officials were on the take and not just incompetent. Belle Terre Swim club is a place for little feet + how about that ocean?
I totally agree. I have never seen City Officials waste taxpayers money like the City of PC. It is very upsetting to see we have people in office that are so incompetent.
Waste Money , Waste more money city- the list goes on with lots of foolish spending.
And whst party is in.control of this mis managed city. Oh the no good lying greedy Repubs, go ahead please ruin this place and run it down to nothing. Please show the blind Republican voters your real colors. They will vote for you until the day they die. Oh I forgot please ruin the state Repubs. Republican voters you should see what they stand for. Just love it.
It may be an just an assumption on my part so forgive me for saying most of the comments sound like they are coming from a bunch of old geezers who don’t see any value at all in having the city provide any sort of entertainment or activities for the youth out of taxpayer funds. Well, from my standpoint, the city has historically been sorely lacking in adequate outdoor activity space for kids at the city’s parks. I’m retired and don’t have kids, but I definitely saw the value of the extensive, albeit long delayed remodel of Holland Park. I have driven through the Park many times since the remodel was completed, and I have not only been pleased by what has been accomplished, I was actually amazed at the number of new amenities and thoughtful design that turned what had previously been just a ho-hum park into a show piece. I don’t blame the city staff or its crews for the splash pad construction debacle, that is the fault of the company who did the work. The city has to have evidence in order to succeed in any potential litigation effort going forward, so it sound like a logical step to do what they are starting now to try and find out exactly what the problem is. Nothing is done overnight, so it is just going to take patience and hopefully the city will get to the bottom of it and restore the splash pad so it can operate once again for the enjoyment of the children in our community.
What was the rationale to build a splash park for kids in a town that has a higher than average percentage of retirees?
Well good question but when you have 4 elementary schools in palm coast alone and look how many students are enrolled in any of them, your not a retirement community anymore.
Hey, in PC most retirees are in their second childhood, so don’t assume the splash-pad was only for kids.
Don’t retirees have children, who – guess what – have kids??? Just because one happens to be a retiree, and the city has a lot of them living here, doesn’t mean the entire city of Palm Coast is an extension of an assisted living facility. Besides the younger people living here with many kids (and that is why Palm Coast is already planning on building more schools), Grandparents have grand kids who visit. Can you imagine a city that intentionally rejects ANY park activities and facilities designed for youth simply because there are a lot of older people living in it.
Concerned Citizen says
We still need our infra structure upgraded to meet current building and population growth. We still need sidewalks and lighting in areas that are dark and unsafe. But yes let’s keep throwing money at something that’s been closed longer than it has been open. In hopes of someday it might work.
Michele G says
File a claim with the insurance company that provides coverage for the splash pad. They will go after the contractor and at the same time do the investigation of what caused the damage.
The town should not tear anything else up, they could actually be destroying evidence.
Can we please elect some new people who might actually know what they’re doing regarding effectively running this city?
Pretentious aspirations says
They built a $5 million splash pad? One so elaborate even Jesus and a team of engineers can’t figure out why it’s not working?
One would think if there was demand for such an amenity a private company would have built one for profit. But the City Palm Coast wanted to do this? That money could have been spent on more parks and some really nice playgrounds in multiple locations around the city!!!
Maybe the City council can vote to build a zoo next.
Grace Zultowski says
That splash park was great while it lasted. I hope they can find the problem and fix it. The kids loved it. It was the best safe water activity in town they could be enjoyed by even young children.
Totally Agree! Fix it! and SOON. It took a year to make the decision to peal up the soft deck to see whats going on. At this rate it may be 3 more years of doing nothing before these brainercks figure this out.
Bob Wiley says
Oh so this is why Palm Coast gas prices are 20-30 cents higher than the counties north and south of us. That high tax price per gallon has to pay for this massive mistake of a remodel and a splash pad that’ll never be used. Awesome! (Sarcasm)
Try again, this time using facts. Cities in Florida may impose gasoline taxes up to one cent per gallon. Neither Palm Coast nor St. Augustine do this, however, Daytona Beach does add $0.05 per gallon.
The total fuel tax imposed by Flagler County is $0.153 per gallon. Volusia is $0.203 and St. Johns is at $0.143. Please note that these figures do not include the mandatory state taxes which are the same throughout the state. While St. Johns has a lower imposed tax than Flagler, their prices are almost always a bit higher; this morning the stations along US1 were averaging $3.57 per gallon while in Palm Coast/Flagler the average was at $3.53 and Volusia was averaging $3.38 with their higher local fuel tax. Go to Exhibit B at: https://floridarevenue.com/taxes/tips/Documents/TIP_21B05-02.pdf
I know that it is hard for some people to comprehend that the facts do not support their narrative, but please try to enlighten yourself before saying something stupid.
Dave M says
Why are we using the most ineffective labour to unearth the splash pad and try to determine the problems. Do we now have splash pad experts on city staff? I watched as the city crews made repairs to the pedestrian bridge on Belle Terr Parkway at BTMS only to watch contractors now rip up the entire structure, scrap all the work done by city crews and rebuild a 10 year old bridge. When are we going to learn we need a wholesale replacement of all City Managers and all of the City Council. Put people in place that are accountable and make the correct decisions not ones that keep costing us the taxpayers more money.
Another person that thinks with their brain! Yes sir I concur!
Besides the recent beach erosion pictures, that splash-pad photo has gotta be just one of the most saddest pictures I’ve seen here on Flagler Live this year.
Just my opinion.
Going to take a month of Sundays to clean up the mess that has happened since the pad was closed. Why is it taking so long to do anything? Palm Coast government at work, again!