Our hats are off to the Madison Fire Department for organizing a schedule of splash zones during June and early July (see last Wednesday's Daily Leader). We think the idea is one of the best we've heard this year.
The Madison Aquatic Center is closed for repairs following an entire season lost in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So it's been about 21 months since anyone could enjoy that great facility to swim, play or just cool off on hot days.
Instead of lamenting the closure, Dan Buresh and the fire department came up with the idea of splash zones spaced throughout the city, using an older pumper truck to spray water and cool off whoever would like it. The idea reminds us of something that occasionally happens in big cities like New York -- a hot, oppressive summer day is made joyous when someone opens a hydrant and kids play in the cool water in the street.
There would be no charge to those who enjoy the splash zones and almost no cost to the city, thanks to fire department volunteers and generous donors such as Raven Industries who will provide tarps to slide on. The city would pay for the water, fuel for the pumper and a few other items, but those are tiny compared to the enjoyment the activity will bring.
The first event is Tuesday from 2-4 p.m. at Baughman-Belatti Park. The next ones are Thursday at Westside Park, June 15 at Memorial Park and June 17 at Totland Park. If they are successful, more sites will be added.
Here's our bold proposal: Adult should join in the fun. This doesn't need to be a children's event only. The whole family can head to the events and get soaked with water on a hot day.
-- Jon M. Hunter