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July 3, 2014

A cool, watery escape

Heat draws Valley residents to Haverhill spray park

HAVERHILL — Now that the water park at Swasey Field is operating and the summer heat is here, kids are flocking to it from across the city and outside Haverhill as well.

The water park was built through a $1 million state grant that Haverhill received to renovate the 14-acre field. Swasey Field includes youth baseball diamonds and a basketball court.

The water park is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, but lately kids and their parents have been arriving earlier, setting up lawn chairs and coolers in anticipation of that first burst of water from colorful spray stations.

The stations include a tall fixture that resembles a sunflower and rains water down on children. Another has colored hoops like a rainbow that kids can run or crawl through. There’s also a station that looks like a fire hydrant, with water shooting out the top, much to the delight of young children who seem to enjoy placing their hands over it. The water sprays on a preset cycle, rotating from one station to another. An automatic timer shuts off the flow at night.

“It’s really nice, it’s free and so is the parking,” said Lisa Jones, a 5th Avenue resident who brought her four children to Swasey to play this week. “I like the fact that the water isn’t deep like in a swimming pool or a pond. And you don’t have to sit in traffic with four kids.”

Her daughter Ciara Price, 7, had little to say after running through one of the spray stations other than “it’s good,” while her sister, Janisa Price, 10, was a bit more chatty. “I like the rainbow hoops,” she said.

The first to arrive are usually young children, some only 1 year old, and most of them have been arriving with a parent or other adult.

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