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Most Whatcom County spray parks are open in time for summer weather

Kids playing in the fountain at Centennial Riverwalk Park in 90-degree weather (August 19, 2016). Photo: Whatcom News
Kids playing in the fountain at Centennial Riverwalk Park in 90-degree weather (August 19, 2016). Photo: Whatcom News

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Spray parks, also known as splash pads, around Whatcom County are opening up and just in time it would appear given high temperatures in the 80s are in the near-term forecast for much of the County.

Sumas installed a spray park last year and it reopened again this year to a bit more fanfare given the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic during the summer of 2020. The Sumas spray park is located on the southwest corner of Sumas Avenue and West 3rd Street.

Another spray park opened, albeit a bit later, last year in Cordata Park in Bellingham. The spray park is 1 of several amenities in this 25-acre park. UPDATE 6/19/21: The Cordata spray park is broken and will not open this weekend per City of Bellingham.

70-acre Cornwall Memorial Park is home to a spray park in central Bellingham and Fairhaven Park is the location of another in south Bellingham

The spray park that has not begun operating this year is in Ferndale’s Centennial Riverside Park. The fountain there has, over the years, become a de facto spray park. But city officials say they have been notified modifications are needed for it to be approved for reopening by the Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) and it has not begun flowing this year.

City of Ferndale Communications Officer Riley Sweeney told Whatcom News this means either installing a railing around the fountain that would make it a fountain by WCHD’s definition. To allow it to continue as a spray park would require upgrading its water treatment system to WCHD standards.

Adding to the complexity of the decision, a 4-story mixed-use project on an adjacent property is planned to adopt and revise a nearby public restroom building and the underground fountain system into its design and it could begin breaking ground soon.

The Ferndale Parks, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board will be discussing the options at tonight’s meeting according to Sweeney.

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