For those of you who are particularly active in the community of Crookston, whether it's through membership in a service club or organization or serving on various boards, councils or commissions, there's a decent chance that you are pretty well-versed these days on the latest happenings involving Crookston's splash park initiative.
That's because Shirley Iverson and other splash park proponents have been maintaining a very high profile, which continues to involve numerous presentations to numerous clubs, boards, councils and commissions. Last week, Iverson spoke to the Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority (CHEDA) Board of Directors, and the board said they'd write up a letter of support as the splash park group seeks four separate grants to help fund the $185,000 project. Earlier this week, Iverson updated the Park Board on the splash park initiative and, in response, the board approved Castle Park as the location for the park, if it's eventually determined that it will be located in a city park. There's still a small, outside chance that the park could be located on school district property, most likely near the school district-owned swimming pool, or on private property.
But, still, it's looking like Castle Park is the place, something that pleases Iverson. Some potential contributors have been waiting to see where it's going to be located before making a donation, she said.
With the city seeking a state grant approaching $400,000 to move the city's campground from Central Park to Castle Park and add other amenities to the Sampson's Addition park that's already home to the dog park and natural play space, Iverson said adding a splash park might help the city's cause.
"Things are kind of gelling to make that a real star park for the community and surrounding area," she said. "Studies show that splash parks don't do as well when they're a stand-alone amenity. You want other amenities available to make a visit a more dynamic experience for families so they can do multiple things and stay longer."
For those who haven't witnessed a splash park presentation or are simply out of the loop on the initiative, here are some tidbits of information:
• The park would cover a 3,000 square foot area
• Iverson said that, currently, several local families travel to Grand Forks to visit their two water parks, which will be joined by a third water park later this year.
• The park's water system would be timer-based, meaning it the various misting and other water components would run for a while and then need to be re-activated with the push of a button.
• It would be a free amenity
Page 2 of 2 - • There would be no lifeguards or any other supervision, since it's considered a "zero depth" pool. Liability risk would be the same as any other city park.
• The $185,000 budget is tied up mostly in purchasing the water components and pouring the cement slab.
• There is a water line that extends to Castle Park, to the dog park.
• Spring start-up maintenance, fall shut-down maintenance and water usage costs are expected to be in the $5,000 to $7,000 range.
• The park's components would have a 20-year lifespan.
• The first goal will be to meet the $185,000 goal in the hope of constructing the park this year (best case), or next year, but Iverson said some ongoing pledges will also be sought to help with maintenance and water costs.
• The plan would have it to be open from late May to September.