The City of Idaho Falls is home to more than 20 parks, an aquatic center, and rodeo grounds, but the Parks and Recreation Department will soon be adding one more facility to that list.
On Thursday, the department unveiled plans for a possible spray park and water feature to be located along Memorial Drive. The City Council approved preparation of land development plans for the project.
Earlier that day, at an Idaho Falls Civitan Club meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Greg Weitzel showed the club some sketches of what a water feature would look like on the east side of the Greenbelt.
"We would like to break ground in the fall and have this built by next July," said Weitzel. "That's our plan."
According to a news release from the city Friday, the nearly $700,000 project would be about 9,500 square feet, the size of a large playground, and would be open year round.
The spray park concept is based off Periodic Springs (also known as Intermittent Falls) in Afton, Wyo. The park will feature natural rock columns, springs, geysers and waterfalls that fluctuate every 15 minutes. One large “Old Faithful Geyser” will gradually shoot water 40 to 60 feet into the air every 30 minutes. Another feature will be a waterfall cave, where children will adjust gate valves that allow water to flow down slides or through faux grass pads.
A specifically designated area for toddlers features small geysers as well as installation of a nonslip finish and rubber surfacing to help prevent falls.
Nathan Durtschi, owner of Rock Solid Landscape Design and Construction, developed the concept for the park and will help the city with the formal design and engineering.
"This is one of the most unique and exciting projects I've had the pleasure of designing," Durtschi said in a city news release Friday. "I think we have come up with a one-of-a-kind spray park that will become a popular destination for residents and visitors alike."
"We're not asking the mayor for $3 million to build a Rexburg Rapids," said Weitzel. "I think we're taking the right approach. I think it's a good size that fits our community."
The Civitan Club donated $25,000 to build the park.
"We're just really excited about it," said Eve Wilson, president of the Civitan Club. "They've been talking to us about it for about a year, and we think a lot of people will use it."