Monday proved an eventful day for the Ardmore Parks and Recreation Department as they were given permission to build a new splash pad at Southwest Park and accepted a $13,000 grant to provide city residents with swimming lessons. 

The Ardmore Board of Commissioners approved a motion at their regular meeting accepting a bid for the construction of a splash pad at Southwest Park.  

The splash pad was originally supposed to be constructed and open by now but bids were more than the $100,000 budget— resulting in the commission rejecting the bids on June 5 and putting the project back out for bid July 10. Commissioners awarded the bid to RJR Enterprises, of Arkansas, in the amount of $95,000. 

“This company has a proven track record in Ardmore,” said Teresa Ervin, Ardmore Parks and Recreation director. “(They have) installed their splash pads in Ardmore with minimal maintenance issues. This splash pad has been a long time coming.” 

A lower bid from Heartland Parks and Recreation in the amount of $85,628 was turned down by the commission because the company wanted to Parks and Recreation in the amount of $85,628 was turned down by the commission because the company wanted to make the spray nozzles out of plastic, something the commission’s advisors said would could cause problems down the road. 

Ervin again stole the spotlight at the meeting when she asked the commission to approve the acceptance of a grant awarded to the Ardmore Parks and Recreation department to provide swimming lessons to citizens. The grant was awarded by the Trustees of the Community Foundation of Ardmore, Inc. Ervin said these funds will greatly decrease the cost of offering swim lessons to members of the community and provide admission scholarships. 

In 2013, the Parks and Recreation Department took on the task of offering swim lessons to citizens after the American Red Cross announced that it would discontinue its swim lesson program in Ardmore. Swimming lessons for the 2017 season finished last week and Ervin said the class successfully served 734 people this summer. The ages of those enrolled in the swim lessons range from six-month-olds to adults. 

“It’s a program that is a tradition in Ardmore, but there is also a need for it,” Ervin said. 

“It’s so important for people to know how to swim,” Vice-Mayor Sheryl Ellis added. “It saves lives.” 

The commissioners approved both of Ervin’s proposals unanimously. 

Commissioners also approved a memorandum of understanding between ProLiteracy and the Ardmore Public Library so that the partners could receive a grant for a project they are working on. The joint project, “Expanding Access to Adult Literacy Services,” attempts to do exactly what it was named for. 

ProLiteracy, along with support from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, will provide $5,000 in support to the library for this project. These funds will be used to provide basic literary services for adults and out-of-school youth 16 years and older.