As the City of Fitchburg’s recognizable “central” park, McKee Farms expanded its recreational offerings with the implementation of a 4,000-square-foot splashpad. The new addition fulfills the City’s long-standing goal of adding an aquatic play attraction within the boundaries of this 59-acre park. The Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association has recognized the project with its 2016 Park Facility Award of Excellence in the $250,000 to $499,000 category.
The land on which the park is established had been a working farmstead owned by the McKee family and was turned over to the city for use as public open space. During the planning and design stages, Ayres Associates’ designers worked with the project team to pay tribute to the site’s history, depicting a whimsical yet accurate farm yard.
A conceptual master plan was completed along with visual graphics to create fundraising boards, mailing postcards, and a variety of web-based graphics. The Fitchburg Optimists Club headed fundraising and the initial design process.
In the final design, colored concrete patterns mimic traditional crop rows and a mottled brown dirt barnyard. The barnyard contains spraying flowers, horse-themed water cannons, and climbable chicken-shaped spray features. A large custom-designed tractor is situated among the crop rows. The main vertical feature is a 21-foot-tall windmill with dumping buckets and variable spray patterns. A building containing restrooms and mechanical storage space was designed in the theme of a classic Wisconsin red barn.
The configuration of the pad is laid out in three distinct zones catering to children of different age groups, abilities, and levels of daringness. Color choices were carefully considered to be fun and inviting but not garish, and material selection was based on historically appropriate textures with a focus on long-term durability.
Environmentally friendly features include user-activated spray nozzles, which prevent water from being wasted when no one is present. A recirculation system was designed to capture and reuse water from the facility.
Our team completed the construction documents and assisted the City during construction in the summer of 2013.