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Cary to start construction on park with town's first sprayground

Construction will start this fall on a new park in south Cary that will include a large play area and the town's first sprayground.

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Construction will start this fall on a new park in south Cary that will include a large play area and the town's first sprayground, an outdoor play area where pieces spray and dump water on visitors.

The 50-acre Jack Smith Park will sit at 9725 Penny Rd., a former family farm on the south side of Penny Road near Holly Springs road. The town council named the park after Smith last week. With 25 years of service, Smith is the longest serving council member on record and has been in office longer than any mayor in the town's history (though he never was elected mayor).

The park will be home to the town's first sprayground; what's being called a "major children's play area;" the town's second dog park; a climbing rock; picnic shelters; restrooms with an outdoor shower to rinse off; paved and unpaved trails; and an open lawn area. There also will be public art pieces, including three large whirligigs by folk artist Vollis Simpson and a grouping of nine concrete Suffolk sheep sculptures by William Moore, which kids will be able to climb on and play with, according to project engineer Susan Parker.

Parker tells me that there is a basis for design, but officials are still working out the exact details for the sprayground and play area, which will sit next to each other. 

They'll be placed at the new Jack Smith Park in south Raleigh. Courtesy: Town of Cary

The play area will include a structure for kids ages 2 to 5 with a climber, slides, climbing blocks and other elements. Another large piece for kids ages 5 to 12 will likely have a bridge, belt swings and other climbing pieces.

Plans also call for a large climbing boulder, similar to the one at North Cary Park
Near the playground is an open field with the art elements, including the collection of nearly life-size concrete sheep. Moore, the artist behind the sheep, also create KATAL, the dragon at Kids Together Park in Cary. Suffolk sheep once grazed on the land when it was the Bartley family farm.

Right now, plans call for about 11 elements in the sprayground, which will sit inside a 42-foot diameter circle near the playground. They include geysers that shoot water up from the ground, soaker stations, buckets to dump water on people and more. Of course, those details are not yet finalized.

This will not only be Cary's first sprayground, but the first public sprayground in western Wake County. 

"We’re going to see how it works out," Parker said. "I’m sure everybody is going to love it."

A groundbreaking is scheduled for Sept. 27. Construction will begin this fall and take about a year. So it might be spring 2016 before that sprayground is turned on. 

I'll be talking about the park on WRAL-TV's morning news around 8:30 a.m., Wednesday.

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