What was a plain, dated paddling pool has been transformed into a vibrant splash pool, in what is the first of many big improvements planned for Wyndham Park.
The £80,000 paddling pool – £42,871 of which was contributed by grant-awarding body WREN – was officially opened on Saturday, the glorious sunshine bringing several families out to be part of the grand event.
The idea is to restore it, as far as possible, to when it opened in 1924.John Knowles
Doing the honours was leader of South Kesteven District Council Bob Adams, who cut the ribbon in front of a large crowd of councillors, Rotarians, members of Wyndham Park Forum . . . and children keen to try it out.
Coun Adams told the Journal the old paddling pool was not only becoming tired but was also costly to maintain.
Standing poolside, he added: “We came around here a number of times last year when the old paddling pool was here and on a warm day there are literally hundreds of people and kiddies in the paddling pool. This is a marvellous facility for the town and for the children. It’s a safe area for them and an attractive place to come.”
After the cutting of the ribbon, not only did youngsters jump straight in but an information board at the rear of the pool was unveiled. It tells the story of the war memorial park, and also of the Rotary Club of Grantham’s Swimarathon fund-raiser, which contributed to the project by installing benches around the pool. These benches feature a special Swimarathon logo, which the Rotary club plans to include in all future community projects.
Rotary club president Mos Kalbassi said: “The benches are very special because, although they look like ordinary benches, we managed to get the Rotary logo on them. So may that be the beginning of lots of Rotary things for Grantham in the years to come.”
Over the next three years, visitors will see a number of changes taking place at the park, once a Heritage Lottery grant of £875,900 is confirmed and put to use.
John Knowles, chairman of the Wyndham Park Forum of volunteers who are passionate about the park, revealed the upcoming projects aim to restore the park back to its glory days of 1924, when it first opened.
He said: “The idea is to restore it, as far as possible, to when it opened in 1924.
“This paddling pool is the first of many projects I hope we will see in the next two or three years. We are well on the way towards our lottery grant now, of getting towards £1 million. That will see the boathouse and the boating lake resotered, will see the old archway restored and toilets put in, and so on.
“In three or four years time, you won’t recognise this park.”
Next week, the forum is meeting with a design team to put on paper the various features and the work to be done to them. It will be next year before the restoration work begins, said Mr Knowles.
At the opening, he was bubbling over with joy at the finished paddling pool design. He said: “The forum was formed around seven or eight years ago now and one of the projects we wanted to see off the ground was improving the old paddling pool.
“It first opened in 1924 and the pergola surrounding it was as it is now but, of course, it was in rather poor condition and we wanted to upgrade it. So with the help of the council we were able to be awarded a grant from WREN to not just upgrade it but make it a fun place for the kids.
“We are thrilled to bits to see it off the ground.”