A colorful splash pad featuring a “Mushroom Maze,” “Baseball Spin N’ Spray,” “Jet Way” and other fun water activities is now open at El Franco Lee (EFL) Park for families to enjoy during the long summer.
The 2,778-square-foot splash pad, a first for a Precinct One park, will be open from April to October each year. Completed in March, the splash pad officially was opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 8. Besides the water features, the splash pad has two covered seating areas – each with two picnic tables.
A number of South Belt-area community leaders had asked then-Commissioner El Franco Lee to build a splash pad in the park because many children could not enjoy a water facility in a nearby subdivision because they didn’t live there.
Eager children and their parents joined community leaders and others at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Marie Flickinger, chairperson of the South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce, praised both the late Commissioner Lee and Commissioner Rodney Ellis for fulfilling the community’s request for the splash pad.
“I know that my dear friend El Franco Lee is smiling today,” Commissioner Ellis said. “El Franco Lee decided to put this splash park here so that it’s not just for people in a certain neighborhood, but for everybody, including the folks in that neighborhood. So I’m just glad that we could go forward with this.”
Commissioner Ellis challenged Ms. Flickinger to help him “christen” the splash park. Playing the good sport, she dashed through the spraying water with him, both fully clothed.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony occurred the same sunny Saturday that Commissioner Ellis, Justice of the Peace Jo Ann Delgado and Constable Chris Diaz co-sponsored Easter egg hunts at EFL Park and Pleasantville Elementary School.
Some 1,200 children and adults were at the EFL hunt, and they also enjoyed free hotdogs and soft drinks. Children were separated by ages for the egg hunts in the park’s fields, and festive Easter baskets were given to the four youths who found metallic eggs on the hunts.
It was a lucky day for the Pecina family. Destiny, 10, and her 6-year-old brother, Anthony, both found metallic eggs. “I’m really happy,” Destiny declared.
Earlier in the day in the Pleasantville community, about 300 children ate free popcorn, hotdogs and snow cones before a noon egg hunt that attracted a visit from U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
Standing in line for a snow cone, Brent Murphy, who attends Precinct One’s Finnigan Park Youth Education Town, said he had fun.
“We got to hunt the eggs and we got to eat a lot of food,” Brent said.