Slippery new Leesburg splash pad causing some falls

Woman hopes to get results after grandfather gashes head open after slipping

By Nadeen Yanes - Reporter

LEESBURG, Fla. - Leesburg City officials are working to get some traction after they realized their new $425,000 splash pad is a little too slick.

Leesburg resident Amber Wilnau quickly saw that when she brought her son, Lyric, there for the first time on Fourth of July weekend.

"I first went there and it was like, 'I see a lot of kids falling, this isn't good,'" Wilnau said.

Even though she had her concerns, she said she saw how much her son loved it and decided to just be careful.

"He loves it. He has a blast," she said. "I got grip shoes."

She said she always makes sure her son has swim shoes on and thought that was fine, until she got a call at work on Wednesday.

It wasn't her son Lyric who fell, it was her dad. The fall was so bad he got a bloody gash on his head. 

"He said he stepped on one of those little squirter things and he just lost his footing and he hit his head really hard," Wilnau said.

Amber Wilnau says her father fell and slipped at the new Leesburg splash pad.

To stop the next possible slip, she's calling on the city of Leesburg to get results.

"A lot of people have said, 'This is the reason why I haven't taken my kids there.' It's all over Facebook," she said.

Wilnau wants the city to resurface the splash pad to make it more like Tavares' Splash Park, which has a rubber-like surface and there are no slips. 

"I mean it's a problem that needs to be fixed," Wilnau said.

Leesburg city spokesman Derek Hudson said the city is aware of the issue. Leesburg received complaints initially after the splash pad opened in May but Hudson said there were no major injuries.

In June, Public Works employees placed rubber mats on the pad, Hudson said, but he added that the pads aren't working as well as they should.

Hudson said the city is looking at a more permanent fix even though he doesn't know what that will be. Until then, they will be adding more mats and making sure the lifeguards stay on top of the 'No Running' rule.

The splash pad is part of a major and long-term investment for Phase 1 of the city's Venetian Gardens improvement plan.

Phase 1 was building the city's Kids Korner at Roger's Park, which included the splash pad, a new play area and a new pavilion that all opened on the same day in May.

Phase 2, Hudson said, will include the improvement of the Ski Beach area and the building of a new community center. You can see more about the project in a presentation given to the City Council in June. 

Until then city officials said they will work on fixing the slippery splash pad, but want to do it during the off-hours with plans of making a more permanent solution once the new school year starts.

"We love it so much and it's awesome that our community put it out there," Wilnau said. "But we don't want anything more serious to happen."

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