Rendering of a proposed splash pad at JoJo's Jungle, an all-inclusive park on the city's west side. Source: City of Wausau documents

By Shereen Siewert

A splash pad for an all-inclusive playground is once again on the table, if the city agrees to reallocate unspent money from a parking lot project.

JoJo’s Jungle is a 1.5 acre educational playground at Brockmeyer Park on Stettin Drive and is dedicated to Josiah “JoJo” Hoerter, who passed away more than three years ago from complications of a rare genetic condition. The splash pad, which was shelved for financial reasons, has unique features to accommodate all children, including those with special needs, along with a range of educational components.

The park is now under construction.

In an October interview JoJo’s father, Patrick Hoerter, said the proposed water feature fits with the core values of the park.

The diamond shaped pad allows children to play together interactively by controlling the direction of water flow along the feature. They learn about currents; flood plains; and cause and effect. Because the splash pad isn’t over stimulating or excessive in water use, swimwear isn’t always necessary, which allows children to play as part of the overall playground experience.

The city previously allocated $100,000 from TID 7 to upgrade the parking lot to be ADA accessible as part of the playground project, but did not spend the full amount. Much of the park has been supported by heavy fundraising efforts by JoJo’s Jungle, but the requested $25,000 would allow for the water feature in the budget, according to city documents.

Unlike the timed water feature at The 400 Block, the JoJo’s Jungle splash pad would be user-operated and will only generate water flow after one of three activators are manually depressed.

Members of the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee unanimously approved the request, which moves to the Finance Committee this week.