April 21, 2024

City gets DNR grant for splash pad

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Five years ago, Elbow Lake City Clerk Jeff Holsen told the mayor that before Holsen retired, he would like to see a splash pad built for the kids of Elbow Lake in Veterans Park.

“They need to get outside on these summer days and I have seen how popular a splash pad can be,” he said.

On June 14, 2022, Holsen was informed that his application for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Outdoor Recreation Grant Program had been selected for funding. This means $130,829 for the $265,000 splash pad, with the rest coming from donations raised in the coming months. No local taxpayer money will be used for this project.

“The DNR had $5.2 million available for grants this year, with over $12 million in grant requests, so the grants were very competitive,” Holsen said.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Holsen, who applied for the DNR grant two years ago, but missed the deadline. Then last year, the city had a designer lined up, but he dropped out. That’s when EDA Director Gene Wenstrom heard about a successful splash pad the city of Morris built. Holsen contacted the contractor, Commercial Recreation Specialists, who took on the project. They design and build nearly 85 percent of the splashpads in the U.S.

A representative of the company was in Elbow Lake last week to finalize placement of the pad and water runs.  The pad will use a timer so it is running only during certain hours of the day as determined by the city. Kids, or adults, can cool off in flowing, misting, or jetting water. The pad will feature three areas with water features specfic for certain age groups. The water features can be individually controlled, or vary when they come on, so kids can go  from one feature to another as the water jets move. This is called “Chasing the Water.” There will also be a big lion drinking water fountain.

Splash pads are becoming very popular for city parks because they require little maintenance and no life guards.

 Installation of the splash pad will take about a week once the water features arrive from a company in Canada, which is expected to take about eight weeks. It is hoped to have the splash pad operational sometime in September, but most-likely kids will have to wait until next summer to really enjoy it.

The Gene Larson family is donating benches, and there will be picnic tables and umbrellas for shade. The city is welcoming donations from organizations or individuals who want to contribute to this very cool project!

The splash pad will be located just to east of the water treatment plant at Veterans’ Park.

(This is an artist’s rendering – an example – not the actual design for the park)

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