FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The weather is starting to warm up again with Memorial Day right around the corner. When that happens, people usually start finding the closest pool or splash pad to cool them off on a hot summer day.

Once again this year, they won’t have the splash pad at Headwaters Park in downtown Fort Wayne as an option.

The Headwaters Park Alliance, which oversees the park for the Fort Wayne Parks Department, needs to secure more funding to update the splash pad before it can be used again, according the alliance’s executive director Geoff Paddock,

Paddock said the pandemic led various health boards to set new guidelines for public splash pads.

The fountain at Headwaters Park, which is 26 years old, needs upgrades to be in compliance with the new health regulations.

Right now, the funding isn’t there to make those changes because the pandemic landed a huge blow to the non-profit’s pocketbook, according to Paddock. The hope is to have those changes made by this time next year.

He said 80 percent of the park’s normal revenue was lost in 2020 due to pandemic shutdowns and 50 percent of it was lost in 2021.

“We regret that we’re not able to do that in 2022, but if folks will stay patient with us, I think you’ll see a rejuvenated and, I think, a more healthy environment by 2023,” Paddock said.

He expects about 80 percent of normal revenue to return in 2022, which will set them on a path toward making the necessary changes.

Paddock anticipates needing to install a new circulation system and a new holding tank for the water, which he believes will cost roughly $150,000 to $200,000.

“Things will come back to normal in another year or so, and we’re going to work really hard to get this done through donations, through money that we have saved… perhaps the Parks Department, we’ll see how that goes, and other funding that we can find,” Paddock said. “We’re starting to put that plan together.”

Paddock said he believes the splash pad, which he’s been told was one of the first of its kind in Fort Wayne when it was added in 1996, is an integral water feature for that part of the town.

While times have changed and some of the festival organizers who set up at Headwaters Park don’t want it on, Paddock still wants it to be available for all the other days when it could be turned on for anyone to enjoy.

“It is an area gathering place. A lot of folks that will walk here live near the downtown area and the neighborhoods that surround us, so it’s a nice feature to have,” Paddock said.

The splash pad is the biggest update coming to the park, but Paddock said the Headwaters Park Alliance is looking to have all the light posts around the park painted, as well as some various concrete repairs and landscaping work done around the park.