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West Fargo Park Board opts for a splash park instead of an amphitheater

WEST FARGO - After about a month of discussion, the park board scrapped plans for an amphitheater Tuesday and instead approved a splash park suggested by Shadow Wood Lake subdivision residents.

The board tabled bids for the park at its July 6 meeting, after Shadow Wood residents rallied, mainly objecting to a proposed outdoor amphitheater and parking lots.

Tuesday, Dustin Scott with Moore Engineering said the new plan would remove the amphitheater, shift a planned gazebo to the north, eliminate the smaller of the two planned parking lots and add a full-sized basketball court instead of a half-size as planned.

The large parking lot will remain with about 60 to 65 parking spaces, Moore said.

"We feel we need that size of a parking lot because of the splash park. It will invite a significant amount of people, both locally and regionally," Moore said. "There will be no parking allowed on Fourth Street."

Tuesday, the board approved the park bid with change orders removing the amphitheater. The park will cost about $980,000.

Park District Executive Director Barb Erbstoesser said she will continue to work with the city's pool consulting firm to finalize design plans for the splash pad which will have to be bid out separately, a process that may take about a month, she said.

According to a 2008 West Fargo survey, adding aquatic features was the No. 1 priority of residents who responded.

A splash pad is an area for water play that has no standing water. Typically, ground spouts spray water up through a rain deck. A similar concept can be found at Madison Pool in Fargo.

Shadow Wood resident Brent Strand - who spoke on behalf of fellow residents - said he was very pleased with the new plans.

"I think it's something that is going to be used a lot," Strand said. "It's been a process, but it's been a very good process. When you sit down face to face and are honest with each other, it goes pretty well."

Park Board Chairwoman Sharon Odegaard said she was not convinced at first that removing the amphitheater from the plans would be the best idea for the city, but she said Shadow Wood residents came to the table willing to compromise.

"It was a cumulative effort to keep what is best for the neighborhood and the city of West Fargo," said board member Todd Rheault.