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Splash pad project gets a $365,000 boost from city

Posted 6/09/15 (Tue)

By John D. Taylor
Crosby will be getting a splash pad – a pool toy that sprays water from nozzles on those using it -- as a replacement for the kiddie pool at the city’s swimming pool park.
The Crosby City Council last week approved spending $365,000 during the next two years to put in the new pool feature. The city’s money will be joined by $75,000 of Crosby Park Board money, also spread over the next two years.
Park Board Director Bob Gillen and Park Board Member Traci Lund pitched the project to the council – a project they have been working on most of the winter, gathering specifications, deciding what would be appropriate to replace the kiddie pool and talking to splash pad contractors.
Earlier this year, Gillen told the council the kiddie pool needed to be replaced because a pipe located under its shallow concrete burst, and fixing this is quite costly. Also, lacking filtration, the pool could pose a health and safety problem for children.
As a result, Gillen believed that in the long run installing a splash pad would prove wiser and more attractive to pool users than fixing the kiddie pool.
The park board has been talking to various splash pad companies, seeking a good price and installation, and last week they learned from the contractor if they were to put some money down on a splash pad, they could be put on the fall 2015 construction list, and have the pad ready for next year at the pool park.
Gillen pitched this idea to the city council at a meeting Monday last week, telling them that while the park board was “very excited” about the prospect of offering a splash pad to the community, the full price of the pad is incompatible with their budget.
At most, Gillen said, the park board could offer to pitch in $75,000 during the next two years.
As a result, Gillen and Lund told council members the park board has two options: get the pad started with what is needed; or, get the whole enchilada, what the community would really like to have.
Gillen and Lund said the park board was thinking they could begin by digging out the kiddie pool, installing the water lines to connect to various splash pad appliances, and get a bare bones splash pad – essentially a concrete pad with the nozzles installed to eventually connect to a variety of appliances that could be purchased later – for about $260,000.
What they’d really like to have, however, is a “big toy” with more bells and whistles than the bare bones pad. This would cost about $300,000.
Lund and Gillen asked for a   $200,000 commitment from the city.
Mayor Bert Anderson said the splash pad sounds like a “terrific idea… an asset to the community.” Anderson said he talked to no community member who disapproved of it, and cited a conversation with some kids who were using the courthouse lawn sprinklers like a splash pad nozzle, as a testament to the need for a pad.
Alderman Wayne Benter wondered about the cost of operating the splash pad, compared to the kiddie pool, but realized  this would just be the electricity to run the water jet pumps.
Alderman Troy Vassen spoke in favor of a commitment from the city, and suggested the park board also do some fundraising to offset their costs. He thought this would be an easy sell.
However, it was Alderman Bryan Haugenoe who asked, “Why don’t we go big right off the bat?” 
“I like you,” Lund said, “Let’s do it!”
Haugenoe and Alderman Doug Anderson offered a resolution that proposed a total of $365,000 spread over two years for the purchase of the splash pad. 
These funds, along with the $75,000 the park board has budgeted, will allow for the purchase of the bigger model splash pad.
The motion was approved unanimously.
“You guys are awesome,” Lund said.