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Splash Park Ground Breaking

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SPRING HILL——On June 17, Rotary Club members, county leaders, and other dignitaries broke ground on the new Rotary Splash Park at Anderson Snow Park. A project that has been years in the making, the local pirate-themed splash pad is finally underway, thanks in large part to the efforts of the local Rotary Clubs. Nicola Barlow, the Assistant Governor of the Rotary Clubs of Hernando County, noted how the idea for a new park was born.

“Today is a long time in the making,” said Barlow. “Five years ago, three local rotary clubs – Brooksville, Spring Hill, and Spring Hill Central – elected to make a difference in our community, and collaboratively the idea of a splash park was born […] It has been an amazing journey.”

According to the former President of the Rotary Club of Brooksville, April Johnson Spence, the county’s Community Services Director, Chris Linsbeck, was the “brainchild” of the design of the attraction, while Robert Talmage has helped the idea “come to fruition.”

Talmage, Hernando County’s Parks and Recreation Administrator, shared some numbers and specific details about the upcoming park on Monday. The new addition to Anderson Snow is a “cutting-edge splash park,” he said. “The filter system is comparable to municipal potable water treatment plants.”

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This will result in high-quality water at the park that will be “filtered, chemically treated, and UV treated to Florida Department of Health swimming pool engineering standards,” Talmage continued. The complete water filtration turnover will occur every three minutes to conduct a full cycle. Though it will be “a lot more than we really need,” the size will be enough to treat the equivalent of a professional 50-meter competition pool. This will ensure that the Rotary Splash Park has pristine water for the families to relax in.

The project is designed for a 174-person occupancy and measures a grand total of 6,000 square feet. This puts this project in the top 5 percent of the “largest owned and operated government splash pads in the state of Florida and beyond,” noted Talmage. “That is gigantic.”

Various events such as bingo, breakfasts, and online/radio auctions held by the Rotary Club helped raise $100,000 in funds to make this dream become a reality. Though a project like this takes years to come to fruition, the construction should go quickly now that ground has been broken. County Commissioners John Allocco and Jerry Campbell, as well as others involved with the construction, expect the park to be completed by the end of this year.

“This is going to be awesome,” Commissioner Allocco said. “Our kids are going to love this, my grandkids are going to love this, and I am looking forward to coming out here and seeing a lot of children having a great time.”

Though leaders are often forced to solve less savory issues, Commissioner Allocco is glad that this project affords the county the opportunity to work together with groups like the Rotary Club to create fun local attractions. The impact of the park will be able to be felt by generations of Hernando County citizens.

Commissioner Jerry Campbell is not just a county commissioner but “a proud Rotarian” as well. Rotary’s model is “service above self,” and they are about giving back to the community, according to Campbell. Like Commissioner Allocco, Campbell thanked the Rotary Club for continuing to press and make sure the construction of the splash park finally saw shovels hit dirt on Monday.

“Through partnerships and teamwork, this specific aquatic playground will be recognized as a gift to the community from the Rotary Clubs of Hernando County,” Hernando County Government PIO Dominique Holmes said. “It is truly amazing when organizations collaborate and create a vision that comes to fruition.”

Hernando County prepares to begin construction on the splash park following Monday's groundbreaking. [Photo by Austyn Szempruch]
Hernando County prepares to begin construction on the splash park following Monday’s groundbreaking. [Photo by Austyn Szempruch]
County Commissioner John Allocco Speaks at the Rotary Splash Park groundbreaking ceremony on Monday. [Photo by Austyn Szempruch]
County Commissioner John Allocco Speaks at the Rotary Splash Park groundbreaking ceremony on Monday. [Photo by Austyn Szempruch]
Nicole Barlow Speaks at Monday's splash park groundbreaking ceremony. [Photo by Austyn Szempruch]
Nicole Barlow Speaks at Monday’s splash park groundbreaking ceremony. [Photo by Austyn Szempruch]
County Leaders and Rotary Club members break ground on the splash park on Monday. [Photo by Austyn Szempruch]
County Leaders and Rotary Club members break ground on the splash park on Monday. [Photo by Austyn Szempruch]

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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