Opening by Platte River Day defies naysayers
by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
The Otto Bremer Foundation recently awarded the Royalton Splash Park a $25,000 grant, which is spurring the completion of the splash pad within a matter of weeks.
“The grant sealed the deal,” said Splash Park Committee co-chair Brenda Weiss-Pesta.
Combined with the money already in the bank for the construction of a mechanical/rest room building, the funds for the splash pad have pushed the park’s progress along by leaps and bounds.
“As soon as the mechanical building is done and the area is cleaned up, we will start prepping for the splash pad,” Jerry Goedderz, committee co-chair, said. “We need 18 inches of special frost-free sand under the pad.”
Construction on the mechanical building began the first week in June, with the block work nearly completed. The committee anticipates the building will be done by about mid-July.
“But it could go faster — we’ll be using volunteer labor,” Goedderz said.
This year, the pad will be installed with ground sprays and some of the surface features, with more features being added later as funds continue to come in.
“The pad will be in the shape of a three-leaf clover, with colored concrete,” Weiss-Pesta said. “The pad will be adjustable, with computerized, programmable controls. It can be set up in such a way so that water usage is lower at night and during the week. All the features can be turned on for the weekends.”
The committee’s goal is to have the pad operational by Platte River Day, Saturday, Aug. 3.
“This will serve an area beyond Royalton,” Weiss-Pesta said. “Morrison County residents won’t need to go to St. Cloud.”
“Both Bellevue and Langola townships have stepped forward to support the park,” Goedderz said. “Langola has mentioned possibly providing an annual stipend to help defray maintenance and upkeep costs.”
Many fundraising activities and projects have been completed in the past six months especially.
“More than $35,000 has been raised just since Jan. 1,” said Goedderz. “Now that people see there’s progress, it makes a difference — once the shelter building went up last summer, and then water and sewer were put in last fall.”
“Donations have been made by people who may or may not use it, but they see the importance of it,” Weiss-Pesta said.
There are plans for additional features not only for the splash pad itself, but for the park as a whole. They will be installed as funds allow.
“We have plans for benches, tables and chairs, a food-serviceable kitchen in the shelter building and a wood fence separating the park from private property,” Goedderz said. “We would like to see a whiffle ball field.”
There have been residents who were doubtful such a project could ever be done, but the support has been generous in both time and funds.
The Royalton Lions have donated $5,000 worth of playground equipment and grills for the park. They are providing much of the volunteer labor for carpentry on the building.
The project got off the ground with a $20,000 grant from the Initiative Foundation, part of a visioning project for the city.
Roach Development gave the city the three lots of land where the park sits, valued at $100,000. The Lions built the shelter with donated materials and labor valued at about $30,000.
“This is a citizen-led project for the city,” Goedderz said. “Our committee’s goal was to raise funds and get the pad in place. Once the splash pad is completed, it becomes the city’s responsibility.”
Other committee members include Bev Albright, Jennifer Bailey, Pam Cimenski, Russ Gerads, Curt Gregory, Dusty Haubner, Angie Sahr, Amy Schoenrock and Tanna Stucky.
“We are grateful to people who have stepped forward to donate,” said Weiss-Pesta. Many families and individual donations have been made. There was a coin drive at the elementary school which the first grade class won. They will be the first group to use the splash pad.”
Shelter reservations have already been made for summer 2014. Shelter rental is $50, with $25 refundable. It seats 75 people comfortably. For more information, call the city office at (320) 584-5900.