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New Battle Brewing Over MLK Splash Pad

12:09 PM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - The MLK Splash Pad is one of the big new attractions in MLK Park this year.

It is a $4.5 million project - funded by taxpayers - that Mayor Byron Brown and other city officials have boasted will bring new excitement and attention to the park, after violence struck the park in 2012 with a devastating shooting.

The splash pad opened a couple weeks ago and some people in the community are raising concerns that the park might not be doing all that it was promised to do, because some of the features have been missing.

City officials say the pad is the largest in the country and when city officials unveiled the splash pad, they said there would be colorful lights on during the night, illuminating the water.

They also said there would be creative water patterns spraying from the ground. But, residents have contacted 2 On Your Side saying they haven't seen this happening on a consistent basis.

The city says they will be displayed for special events and won't be shown every night because of security issues.

"That totally defeats years of work, to bring this new comprehensive water feature to light, and you denying the public their right, this is taxpayers dollars that paid for this," said Sam Herbert, who's been leading the Coalition to Save MLK Park.

On Saturday, 2 On Your Side crews went to the splash pad for Juneteenth festivities and multiple colors of blue, purple and green were mixing with the water.

Steve Stepniak, Buffalo's Public Works commissioner says the city is considering some options to keep the lights on every night.

"One of [the reasons] is security. Making sure we have proper security and making sure that these events are either timed out properly or are looked at in a schedule to make sure we have proper coverage for the area," said Stepinak.

And one possibility would be to put police officers at the splash pad, so the lights could stay on and people could be there.

"One of the things is that all our splash pads again close at 7 o'clock for safety so when we keep something open later than 7 o'clock to attract people to a park at night, it's all about safety and how we're going to be able to accomplish that," said Stepniak.

But for now, city spokesperson Mike DeGeorge tells 2 On Your Side's Jeff Preval that the lights will only be on for special events. In the meantime, the Coalition to Save MLK Park will continue to work to get the lights on every night.

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