The town of Culpeper’s first ever public place for cooling off is slated to open later this summer along with an American Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course.

Construction is currently underway for a splash pad in Rockwater Park, the town’s newest park, located up on the hill just past Safeway on Madison Road. Also under construction in the park is a climbing boulder and Fitcore Extreme course, according to Culpeper Town Director of Planning Charles Rapp.

“Town staff has recently been working with the contractors for each of these items to prepare the site for installation,” he said. “Over the next month, things should really start taking shape as contractors begin installing equipment.”

The recreational projects will also require completion of paving of several connecting paths and installation of benches and landscaping, Rapp said.

“We hope to have these items completed and open to the public sometime in mid-summer,” he said earlier this week.

In September, Culpeper Town Council approved town funding for the $400,000 splash pad project being built by Water Odyssey, based in Texas. The cooling-off play area will have sprinklers, fountains, nozzles and other devices that spray water. The town of Culpeper’s first of this kind of facility will also have shade structures, rock boulder sprayers and benches. The project has been discussed for more than three years, and the need for a public pool in Culpeper, for decades.

The splash pad will be located near the wells in Rockwater Park, easily facilitating recycling of the water as well as filtration, chlorine addition and UV disinfection for eradication of bacteria and viruses in the water.

As for the $260,000 Fitcore Extreme obstacle course, it is being funded by a trio of nonprofits, primarily Culpeper Wellness Foundation, which has pledged $210,000 to the project. The PATH Foundation has granted $30,000 and Northern Piedmont Community Foundation $20,000.

According to last year’s Culpeper Youth Interest and Needs Assessment conducted by Culpeper Wellness Foundation, a quarter of the 397 local middle and high school students who responded to the survey picked a ropes course, rock climbing walls, obstacle course, etc. as a place where they would definitely hang out.

In a related story of recreation, users of the dog park in the town’s Mountain Run Lake Park have said the site would be much more useful and safe if it had a shade structure. A citizen committee has raised $1,000 for the project estimated at more like $10,000.

Rapp said on Thursday that town staff held discussions with the citizen group and provided recommendations to assist in the development of a formal proposal that could have been brought to the Parks and Recreation Commission. He said the town never received the additional information.

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