Grand reopening of Bayfront Park playground and splash pad scheduled for Feb. 1

New amenities designed with shipwreck theme

Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The grand reopening of the City of Sarasota’s Bayfront Park playground and splash pad has been scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 1, at 10 a.m., city staff has announced.

Bayfront Park is located at 5 Bayfront Drive, on Sarasota Bay.

The public is invited to the ribbon-cutting celebration of the newly renovated shipwreck-themed facility, a news release points out. Each of the first 150 attendees will receive “a free gold doubloon to commemorate the occasion,” the release adds.

The playground and splash pad have new features and amenities, such as climbing structures, plenty of seating areas, and large sails to provide shade, the release notes. The splash pad system will allow children to control the flow of water, instead of producing a continuous flow, as in the past, the release adds.

The original concrete animal sculptures from the Steigerwaldt-Jockey Children’s Fountain on the site “have been placed in the new landscaping after being restored by the artist,” the release continues.

The playground and splash pad areas are Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)-compatible, in accord with the city’s ADA plan to update accessibility in city-owned spaces, the release notes. The new design raised the splash pad by approximately 7 feet, so it is level with the playground. This makes the playground and splash pad one entity instead of two separate ones, as in the past, the release points out.

As conceptualized and overseen by the Parks and Recreation Department, the restoration process started in October 2020, the release continues. A full renovation of the splash pad was necessary because the Children’s Fountain needed increased maintenance, and repair costs were anticipated to be too high, given the expected remaining lifespan of the facility, the release explains

The hours of operation at the playground and splash pad will be as follows:

  • Playground — 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Splash pad — 9 a.m. to dusk.
This is one of slides shown to the Sarasota city commissioners on July 5, 2022, depicting an area of the new Bayfront Park playground. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The project’s final budget was $3.3 million, with the majority of the funds coming out of the money the city received through the American Rescue Plan Act, the release says. The rest of the funds came from the city’s share of the Surtax III Program revenue, which Sarasota County Government administers. Twenty-five percent of the money derived from the extra penny of sales tax is provided to the Sarasota County School Board, with the county’s municipalities and the county divvying up the remainder on the basis of their population counts.