Jaeghan Bell only had one word to describe the new splash pad in Zinn Park at the opening ceremony Friday: “Awesome.”

The 8-year-old was one of the first to play in the park’s newest feature and said she hopes to come back every day.  

“This is going to be our second home,” Jaeghan’s mother, Dy Bell, said.

Bell said she plans to bring her daughter back to the splash pad because it is in a safe location, directly in front of the Anniston Police Department.

Bell said she was excited about the addition to the park because it is much closer than Oxford Lake, where she and her family had previously gone to cool off.

“Now we have our own right here in Anniston,” Bell said. “It’s really wonderful.”

Bell said the splash pad and Friday’s ceremony showed the children that were in attendance that they matter.

“I think it’s wonderful any time the city includes the children,” she said. “They’re letting them know that this is their city, too, and that they need to take responsibility for their actions so that we can keep things like this going.”

Zinn Park is in City Councilman Seyram Salase’s district. The splash pad is part of a park renovation plan that began in 2011. When deciding what to add next, Seyram said the council and other city leaders looked to other communities to see what was successful in their parks.

“We were looking at best practices from other cities and the splash pad proved to be the best fit for Zinn Park, he said. “The splash pad is not only a lot of fun for children, but it is economically and fiscally responsible, as well. We don’t have to pay for a lifeguard and it also conserves water usage.”

Former City Councilman Herbert Palmore was long a supporter of bringing a splash pad to Anniston. He was unable to attend the opening, but said he was looking forward to seeing it.

“That is a real wonderful thing,” he said in a phone interview on Friday. “I’m glad to hear that. The kids need something to do and need some exercise."

Selase said he hopes the splash pad will add to the city’s effort of connecting residents from all parts of Anniston.

“I want it to be the best park in the county,” he said. “I want it to be a place where residents from all over can come over and enjoy the park.”

Staff Writer Laura Monroe: 256-235-3548. On Twitter @lmonroe_Star.