Chapel Hill Town Council members discussed whether funding for new or existing infrastructure should be prioritized at their work session on Monday.
After a presentation of the Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation Splash Pad and Inclusive Playground Progress Report, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said the majority of the Town Council wants more than one medium-sized splash pad for the community.
She said Hargraves Community Park and Homestead Park would be appropriate sites for the splash pad because they would serve a lot of people within walking distance.
Hemminger said the Council wants both a large accessible playground but also wants to add to existing parks so they can be brought up to speed regarding inclusivity.
“I’m embarrassed that all of our playgrounds aren’t as accessible for handicapped and disabled people, and we need to start making those changes,” Hemminger said.
Council member Adam Searing said he has spent a lot of time with parents of kids with complex medical needs, and knows that those parents will drive a long way to get to a playground where their kids can play.
He said that while he is in support of more accessible equipment across playgrounds, the community still needs a central accessible playground for those parents.
Searing added that the creation of splash pads has been a topic of discussion in Chapel Hill for about a decade.
“When I look at our plans here, I think how far behind we are behind every other community around here,” he said. “I mean Fayetteville has 12 of these splash pads.”