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The newest summer hot spot in Coon Rapids opened to a chorus of excited squeals. The city officially turned on the water at the first public splash pad in Coon Rapids on Tuesday night.The new playground and splash pad next to the ice center on Coon Rapids Boulevard gained instant crowd approval. The grand opening celebration also doubled as the first "Summer in the City" event of the year.“It's pretty cool,” said Norma Dale, who attended the celebration with her children.“It's nice to have something closer to home.”Coon Rapids mayor Jerry Koch says the new attraction became possible in 2013, when voters approved more than $17 million to update and upgrade the city's parks. The splash pad is part of the newly-renamed Boulevard Plaza, which Koch expects to be a hub of activity for the city.“It's really more than just a park,” he explained.“Now we've got the splash pad, we have the ice center, we've got the farmer's market that comes here, we've got the Fourth of July celebration here, and we have some space to work with.”The crowd was estimated to be over a thousand at the celebration, which also included cop cars, fire trucks and free ice cream. Residents could speak with city staff, community organizations and public safety officials to learn more about their local government.It was a scene of good old-fashioned fun, mixed with a modern twist.“I think it's great,” said Charlene Freeman about the new splash pad.“I think it's nice to have a different option than a pool.”Matt Kanagy agreed. He thought a splash pad was a great change for the city.“There was a little park within walking distance but nothing like a splash pad at all,” said Kanagy.“So we would have to drive somewhere to get into the water. So that's nice to be able to be somewhere with the water and cool off and all that.”And most importantly, once the water went on for the first time, the new splash pad and playground quickly passed the kid test.“I like it because it's really fun to play in,” said 10-year-old Kimberly Sanchez.“At any time the water can pop up. Yeah, it slows down and then it pops up right away. So it’s fun!”Mayor Koch called it the perfect night.“To hear the laughter, the screaming, the kids voices, it created this din, where you were going, ‘this is awesome.’ This is exactly what we needed in Coon Rapids was this, right here, for these kids.The splash pad at Boulevard Plaza is free and open seven days a week from 10 am to 8 pm.Jennifer Anderson reporting