Parks are a vital part of any community.

According to the National Recreation and Park Association, parks and recreation have three values that make them essential services to communities:

• Economic value

• Health and environmental benefits

• Social importance

The City of Blair is considering creating a new park behind the Blair Public Library and Technology Center in the Deerfield subdivision. Earlier this month, the council approved an engineering study from HGM Associates of Omaha for a preliminary development plan. The plan would determine what amenities the city would like in the park and what it would cost to move forward.

During its annual retreat, the council had previously discussed such amenities as bocce ball and pickleball courts, a basketball court, park shelter and a splash pad.

The park could be developed in phases and the city could seek donations and grants to help pay for some of the potential features.

While the new park could be another gem for the city, a splash pad, no matter the location, is a good idea for Blair. Larger communities, like Fremont, have several splash pads in various parks. Arlington has a splash pad at its village park, while Fort Calhoun is in the process of building one. It's expected to be ready by next summer.

Splash pads have become popular recreation spots for families. While it's not meant to replace a pool, they're designed for younger children and could potentially draw more families to Blair. There has been plenty of talk in the community about the desire for a splash pad.

The new park would also provide a family-friendly recreation space to a neighborhood and an area of the city that is lacking.

The city should be applauded for its forward-thinking and planning for the future, and this project should be pushed forward.

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