Stassen says bid could have been as much as $30K more; board recommends that city council proceed

    What some stakeholders thought might be a splash park initial construction and installation price tag in the $90,000 range came in at a more palatable $65,000 after quotes for the project were solicited from four companies by city and splash park leaders, who updated members of the Crookston Park Board Monday.

    Board members liked what they saw and heard enough to unanimously recommend to the full Crookston City Council that the project proceed to the “next level.” What that next level will likely be, City Administrator Shannon Stassen explained, is a council-level discussion on where the money will come from to fill the dollar gap between what splash park proponents have raised over the past couple of years - $54,600 as of Monday, splash park co-chair Shirley Iverson reported – and the cost to construct the splash park in Highland Park. Factoring in the approximately $65,000 quote for a 3,000 square foot concrete splash pad with several above-ground water toys, submitted by Aquatic Recreation Company (ARC) of Eden Prairie, Minn., that leaves around $10,000 more needed for the park itself.

    Stassen said Monday it’s possible that the money will initially come from the Parks & Recreation budget, with the understanding that Iverson and her fellow project co-chair, Ann Longtin, will continue with fundraising to shrink the gap even more. But, he stressed, the council will have the final say on where the money will come from.

    "We didn't know where the numbers were going to come in, but we're pleasantly surprised by the size of the park and the number of toys," Stassen continued. "I think it's a really good bid."

    Iverson reiterated that more than just cash has been raised and/or pledged. In-kind donations of the mud and rebar for the concrete will also positively impact the expense ledger, she said.

    Iverson added that seven different designs were submitted in response to the solicitation of quotes. The Splash Park Committee met earlier Monday and recommended the design subsequently brought to the park board for consideration. "This company understood our need to be efficient with water," she said, adding that she and Longtin continue to apply for grants of various sizes that, if any of them are awarded, would further reduce the city's share of the cost.

    "It's like a patchwork quilt; there are some tiny pieces and some larger pieces, but it's coming together," Iverson said.

    The city will end up spending more than $10,000 on the project. The council previously agreed to subsidize the annual water used by the park, estimated to be capped at around $7,000 a year, and also cover annual park set-up, shut-down, and routine cleaning and other maintenance.

    But the biggest wildcard remains the “gray water,” which is the term for the water that is used by the splash park. From the beginning, city officials have said they want to capture the gray water and reuse it somehow instead of just letting it go down the drain. There are environmental regulations that prohibit the mixing of gray water with fresh water, so it’s likely that the primary use of the gray water will be to water baseball and softball fields and maybe things like flower baskets and other vegetation in the community.

    The council also previously agreed to cover the costs of setting up a gray water capture system. Public Works Director Pat Kelly is leading up that effort, with an understanding he’ll be as frugal as possible.

    Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle told park board members Monday that a holding tank and pump system will be necessary, and the costs vary a great deal depending on the size of the tank and the number of pumps needed. A smaller tank, in the 2,500 gallon range, he said, would cost around $5,000. If it gets too full after a period of heavy splash park use, he said it might be necessary to pump water out even if it's not going to be reused immediately. Some splash parks in other cities have a holding pond of sorts nearby for overflow periods, but Riopelle said that might not be the wisest route to go in regard to safety, considering all of the kids that frequent Highland Park for a variety of activities in the summer.