Controversial Old Town splash pad

The City of Scottsdale is moving forward with plans to build a splash pad on the south side of the Marshall Way Bridge near Stetson Drive and 6th Avenue despite blowback from some local businesses.

A delayed downtown splash pad that has divided local business owners is moving forward after the City of Scottsdale revised designs amid cost concerns.

The project was originally included in the city’s 2018-19 Capital Improvement Plan, or CIP, and was slated to open by the end of this summer on the south side of the Marshall Way Bridge near Stetson Drive and 6th Avenue.

The splash pad will replace a patch of grass by the fountain nearest to Stetson Drive, according to the city.

However, as the end of summer approaches, there are no signs at the site that construction on the splash pad will begin anytime soon.

According to a memo sent by Public Works Director Dan Worth to the City Council in early July, the project is very much alive and the delays were the result of redesigns driven by cost concerns.

The city originally budgeted $169,875 for the splash pad project in the CIP.

However, after soliciting proposals from construction companies following the design process, the city found that the cost to construct the splash pad would exceed the budgeted amount.

“The price proposal was well above the estimated project cost, so staff worked with the design consultant to reduce the scope and attempt to bring it within budget,” according to Worth’s memo.

The new design features decorative concrete to replace existing turf, four spray jets and drainage. It will not include new landscaping, seating or shade structures, according to the city memo.

An existing cascading fountain on the site will remain in place.

The city has spent about $50,000 on design services for the splash pad so far.

Even with the pared down design, the project will cost more than the city initially inspected.

According to the memo, the project will require an additional $145,000 that will be funded through a facilities repair and maintained project in the CIP, bringing the total cost of the project to $314,848.91.

The additional $145,000 will cover increased construction and city management costs and a five percent contingency fund for construction costs.

The splash pad project has divided local business owners in the area.

According to the city, it conducted outreach for the project in March and received 14 comments in support of the project and 6 comments opposed to the project.

Later on, the city received 13 emails from individuals opposed to the project and a petition signed by 29 individuals opposing the project at the current location.

LDV Winery owner Peggy Fiandaca said she opposes the splash pad’s location because it is surrounded by high-end restaurants and similar establishments that cater to an adult clientele.

Fiandaca, whose patio faces the proposed splash pad location, said she leases patio space from the city and does not think her customers want to view a splash pad while drinking their wine.

Fiandaca said she spoke with other restaurant owners in the area who feel the same way.

“I’m not against kids and I’m not against splash pads (if they are) in the appropriate place,” Fiandaca said. “This is not the right place.”

Not all area business owners feel the same way, though.

Nestldown Linens owner Laura Weaver, whose store neighbors LDV Winery, said she supports the project and believes it will draw additional shoppers to the area, especially during the summer when traffic tends to slow down.

“We live in a desert. Any time there is water people are drawn to water,” Weaver said. “I think it will be popular and draw people in.”

Zoolikins, a locally-owned toy store on 5th Avenue, also expressed support for the project on its Facebook page.

The post on July 16 said the project “would be an amazing addition to Old Town” and encouraged followers to write the city in support of the splash pad.

The City of Scottsdale did not provide an estimated timeline for completion of the downtown splash pad project.