“It’s a nautical theme,” Lynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson said. “It could take as long as six to eight weeks to get the pieces, the pirate ships, the trees, the fish and all that, to come in."

LYNN HAVEN — A new water-themed play area for kids is coming soon to Kinsaul Park in Lynn Haven.

At Tuesday's City Commission meeting, Mayor Margo Anderson said groundbreaking began Monday on the city's first splash pad. The splash pad, which has been described as a “playground with water,” will be between the playground and concession stand.

The splash pad “should be ready probably in a couple of months,” Anderson said. The play area is budgeted to cost $200,000, which will be funded through city revenue and personal contributions.

“It’s a nautical theme,” Anderson said. “It could take as long as six to eight weeks to get the pieces, the pirate ships, the trees, the fish and all that, to come in. It’s going to be a lovely place for our children to play and places for their moms to sit and watch them and enjoy the sun as well.”

Other Bay County residents are excited about the splash pad, including Pat Revell, who said it shows how “progressive” Lynn Haven is getting.

It’s “trying to make the family unit better,” Revell, who’s lived in Lynn Haven for over 30 years, said after the meeting. “The splash park is a neat thing. Oakland Terrace [Park] in Panama City has got the playground they just spent [over] $300,000 on and we’ve got the splash park. ... I think it’s great. I’m just tickled to death over the whole thing.”

Resident Matthew Lisenby said he’ll be “excited to bring the kids when it’s finished.”

Donations can be made through the "Splash Park for Lynn Haven Kids" GoFundMe page, directly through the City of Lynn Haven website or dropped off in person at the water department. Anderson said to specify “splash account” if cash or checks are deposited at the water department.

Individual donors will be recognized by name through plaques and pavers, Anderson said. She began the fundraising campaign almost two years ago.

Rails to Trails

Another new development that has Lynn Haven residents excited is the Rails to Trails program, which will turn old railroad tracks into biking and walking paths. Commissioner Rodney Friend said there will be an engineering presentation on Rails to Trails during an upcoming commission meeting.

“We were very fortunate to secure engineering funds for the Rails to Trails,” he said.

Revell and Frances Wittkopf, who lives on Missouri Avenue, praised Rails to Trails during Tuesday’s meeting. Revell said he’s “thrilled” about the transition, part of big plans by the city to turn an old Air Force fuel depot along Lynn Haven Bayou into a watercentric community center called Marina Island.

“I’m a bicycler, just like Rodney. People in Mowat Highlands and all around are just excited,” Revell said. “The women, to be to get out and walk on the trail, to take their families out there. I think most people don’t realize, the Rails to Trails, how big it is in the state of Florida. We’ve got 52 trails in Florida. ... Most people don’t realize how many people it will bring in.”

Wittkopf has advocated for Rails to Trails in Lynn Haven since 2000 and suggested a workshop so the community can hear about the plans and give feedback.

Other meeting highlights:

• During public commentary, Bill Ruic suggested an airport be built in Lynn Haven because personal aircraft can’t stay at the old airport in Panama City. Anderson said there could be a future public workshop on the topic to get discussion going. Ruic also suggested there could be further professional aviation training for local pilots and a dormitory for Haney Technical Center students at a vacant spot across the street from the school.