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Grand opening held for SNAP splash pad

Weather-wise, the opening of the splash pad in the John Mark Stallings Special Needs Accessible Playground  (SNAP) at Sparkman Park in Hartselle could not have come at a better time.
When a ribbon was cut shortly after 10 a.m. on Saturday at the playground’s entrance, the temperature was 95 degrees and rising. About 25 children between the ages of 2 and 16 waited patiently under a tent for the event’s program to be completed, but wasted no time getting into the water when it started shooting up from below.
As parents and other bystanders looked on, the kids reveled in the moment, splashing around in cool water coming at them from all directions.  An elephant and a tiger spewing water from their mouths were of special interest.  In all of the hooping and hollering that took place in the first half-hour, not a single complaint was heard about the water being too cold.
The splash pad represents the second phase of construction for the SNAP project.  It is located behind the outfield fence of the Reuben Sims Baseball Complex and the back gym of Sparkman Civic Center and is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. There is no charge for its use. Surveillance cameras enable the pad to be monitored live in the civic center office during operating hours and by tape after hours.
The ribbon cutting was conducted as a courtesy of the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce.  Program participants included: Chamber President Susan Hines, welcome; the Rev. Jerry Smith, invocation; Doug Moss, recognition of construction team; Project Director Bob Francis, introduction; Senator Arthur Orr, R-Decatur and Mayor Dwight Tankersley, comments.
“This is a defining moment for the enrichment of the lives of special needs children in this entire area,” Francis said. “I want to thank all of you for being a part of this, for three and one-half years of compassion and love.” Among the project’s many donors he singled out a little girl from Tullahoma, Tenn. who gave 50 cents and a prisoner who mailed a check for $5.
He also singled out Senator Orr for helping the city get a grant to put the splash pad over the top.
“This project shows the goodness of the hearts of Morgan Countians,” Orr said. Those who have supported it have done so without any thought of personal gain.”
“This is a fine example of the continuing efforts of community leaders top serve citizens ‘needs,” Tankersley added.  “I want to personally thank the Morgan County Commission, Parks and Recreation Department, civic clubs and SNAP steering committee for their support.”
Francis presented Orr with a plaque as a token of appreciation for his involvement and support.