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Editorial: Making a splash at Hillside Park

Greenfield’s plans to place a “splash park” at Hillside Park is just the type of feature that will be a welcome addition.

After all, a splash park should be a significant draw for the park, from not only people living in the neighborhood, but elsewhere in Greenfield, especially families with young children who might not have access to a swimming pool or are looking for a quick and easy way to cool off that doesn’t require a lot of planning.

Instead, on a hot day they’ll be able to grab a towel and head over to Hillside and spend time playing.

“The splash park will be right next to the playground,” says town Recreation Director Christie Moore. “Children will be able to play and then go get cooled off.”

Anyone who has visited a venue where there is a splash park, such as Unity Park in Turners Falls or Northampton’s Look Park, can tell you that such a feature is extremely popular and is enjoyed by more than just little children.

Although, our daytime temperatures may not put you in the splash park frame of mind right now, the town wants to have the park up and running by the end of July or into August. And while Greenfield taxpayers are being asked to contribute $50,000, the state is kicking in $200,000 toward the project through its Our Common Backyard Grant program.

This is the kind of improvement that will make a splash for the park and build upon the improvements that have already been made there in recent years. It’s also an investment that should help strengthen the neighborhood’s effort to keep the park from sinking back to a place that attracts vandalism and illegal drug use. Those kind of activities thrive in places that aren’t used enough and wither where there are plenty of people keeping a watch as they and their kids enjoy the park.

More community use, as well as neighborhood watch and community policing, can and will continue to make a difference.

Perhaps, though, the town should consider investing in surveillance cameras for this park as an added security measure. Knowing that there are electronic “eyes” in place might just be ticket for further discouraging trouble at the parks, especially given the financial investment being made at Hillside. And we think that, down the road, they might also be considered for other town recreation venues.

Meanwhile, we look forward to having a splash park — and the kind of weather that makes such a place particularly enjoyable.

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