Updated: 3:20 p.m.
Miami Whitewater Forest has permanently closed its wet playground, Parky's Pirate Cove, Great Parks of Hamilton County announced Tuesday.
The playground, built in 1996, is being closed primarily due to aging infrastructure.
"It was going to be closed for the summer regardless," says Great Parks CEO Todd Palmeter. "A lot of the issues in terms of maintenance came up over the winter, and we started looking at all those issues and the timing was not going to allow us to open it anyway."
Though demolition should be complete by mid-summer, that doesn't necessarily mean the wet playground will be gone forever. "We're not saying we're not going to replace it, but we want to listen to the public and have them be involved in our Master Plan process," says Palmeter, who officially takes over for Jack Sutton as CEO on May 16. "If a wet play is what we hear and feel is the best for that park, then that's what we'll do. But maybe there's other uses or other facilities some of the public might want to see there."
Great Parks is currently developing a Park and Facility Master Plan for all of its 21 parks across the county. Public input should kick off in June, and Palmeter says the way to stay engaged is to visit mygreatparks.com and sign up to receive information on the process. Palmeter expects the system-wide renovation to be complete by 2021.
The removal of Parky's Pirate Cove has already begun, which may affect access to the nearby swing sets. "They may be blocked during construction just for safety," Palmeter says. "We're removing the features in the (wet) play area and that space for the summer will just be a lawn area where we'll add more tables and umbrellas and make it a giant open space for picnicking."
Great Parks says Parky's Pirate Cove was one of the first wet playgrounds in the region. Other wet playgrounds located at Winton Woods and Woodland Mound remain open.