The Ontario Splash Pad will open Friday for its second summer, under new management and a $1 entrance fee.

The Ontario Recreation District will open the pad from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and is installing the fee to make the pad safer and longer-lasting. The pad is at Lions Park in Ontario.

To prevent spread of COVID-19, 10 district workers will clean every surface that people touch, from counters to restrooms, three times a day. The workers will also enforce social distancing and cleanliness rules on a three-strikes policy, and process fee payments. Attendance will be limited to 110 people, although the district doesn’t expect it to reach that amount, Andrew Maeda, district executive director said.

The fee will be charged for those six years old and older, including parents. The district is offering a season pass and also is encouraging those who can’t afford the fee to contact the office on Southwest 3rd Avenue, in Lions Park, for a possible waiver.

Last year, people would run laps before darting away with muddy shoes, and had the possibility of knocking over younger children, said Andrew Maeda, district executive director. Other people, on drugs or drunk, scared away families.

“We can’t expose our children to being knocked over, kicked over, stepped on or anything like that,” Maeda said.

Those same people that tracked in mud also brought in their sweat, unbalancing the chemicals in the water and incurring maintenance costs down the line. Even people with sweaty hats or cotton clothes can mess up the complicated chemical balance.

“It’s just so we don’t have to spend more taxpayer dollars on fixing things that can be taken care of on the front end,” said Maeda.

The ORD is a two-year old recreation district that only manages certain recreation projects, like athletic leagues and the Ontario pool reclamation project. It is not related to the city of Ontario. Its primary funding base is an estimated $600,000 in property taxes every year.

Last year, the city operated the splash pad with the Boys & Girls Club. The Friends of the Aquatic Center designed and planned the pad.

News tip? Contact reporter Aidan McGloin by email at [email protected] or call 541-473-3377.