Somerset’s newest recreational attraction is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend.

SomerSplash, the community’s first water park, is on target to open Friday, May 26. The site on North U.S. 27 has been under construction since last October and crews have made remarkable progress toward getting the first phase of the park completed by the projected opening day, according to general manager Faith Anne Molyneaux.

Pending any unforeseen weather delays, the park will premier three water attractions. They include: a three-slide, 30-foot tower where kids — young and old — can slip and slide their way into a plunge pool; a kiddie play area for some of the park’s youngest guests; and a lazy river. A raft slide empties into the lazy river.

The park does not have an age requirement to go on the larger slides, but it will monitor the height of its riders. Guests must be 48 inches or taller to ride the outdoor slides.

Younger children will find plenty to keep them entertained in the 8,000-square-foot kiddie play area. “It’s a place for kids and adults. It is a really good place for parents and grandparents to take smaller kids,” said Molyneaux.

The kiddie pool extends to a water level from zero to 2.5 feet deep with lots of pipes that squirt and spray.

Molyneaux said the park intended to include a wave pool in the first phase of construction. However, the escalating cost of PCP pipes after Hurricane Katrina forced the city to change its plans, because it was cost prohibitive to build a wave pool in season one. The wave pool is billed as a coming attraction in 2007. Other additions are planned for seasons three and four.

A concession stand, arcade and gift shop will be open the first season.

When Molyneaux came to be interviewed for the position as water park manager, she asked teen-agers where did they go to have fun in Pulaski County. She said she was surprised to find out there were not a lot of places for young people to hang out with friends.

She hopes people of all ages will hang out at the water park this summer. In April, the facility will be posting anywhere from 9 to 115 seasonal jobs. A search is under way to find a full-time maintenance supervisor.

The park, an idea of Somerset Mayor JP Wiles, will be promoted to locals as well as tourists. The attraction will provide “another recreational opportunity besides Lake Cumberland,” said Molyneaux.

A 100-days of summer promotional campaign is scheduled to begin March 6 in anticipation of the opening season. This will be the first opportunity to purchase a $39.95 per person summer pass, which will be offered until opening day. The pre-season price breaks down to about 39 cents per day for 100 days of summer fun from Memorial to Labor Day. After May 26, the price for a summer pass will increase to $59.95 per person and at mid-summer, after July 5, the price for a summer pass will fall to $49.95 per person.

Rates for a regular summer pass, beginning for the 2007 season, will be $39.95 per person, Dec. 1-Jan. 31; $49.95 per person, Feb. 1-April 30; $59.95 per person, May 1-July 4; and $49.95 per person, July 5-Labor Day.

A daily admission will be offered for guests who do not have a summer pass. Younger guests, under 48 inches tall and who are prohibited from riding the large outdoor slides because of height restrictions, will be charged $12.95 per person. The rate includes entry to the kiddie play area and lazy river. Guests who plan to go on all three attractions, and have not purchased a summer pass, will be charged a daily admission of $14.95 per person.

Children age 2 and under will be admitted free with an adult purchasing park admission. It cannot be paired with a $3 per person dry admission ticket. The dry admission price is for anyone who enters the park but does not plan to use the pools.

Guests interested in purchasing summer passes may opt to take advantage of a payment plan, where they make an initial $10 deposit and payments over the next three months. The balance of the account must be paid in full by opening day. Beginning in March, payments may be dropped off at Somerset Utilities building on College Street.

The park will be open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-6 p.m. on Sunday from May 26 to Labor Day. The facility will be available for private group rentals and specialty events will be hosted by the city throughout the summer during the evening hours.

Water Technology, a company out of Beaver Creek, Wis., designed the water park.

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