Council OKs Splash Pad Project

Managing Editor

Councilors on Monday approved the construction of a splash pad next to the High Street shelter house. 

Shinn Brothers, Inc. of Celina will construct the long-awaited project pitched by a fourth-grade class more than two years ago and now that idea took a step closer to reality when council suspended the rules and passed Ordinance 2020-04, authorizing the construction of the splash pad/spray grounds facility. Astro Pools was the lone bidder for the project before Shinn Brothers came in at a lower price.

Director of Public Service and Safety Greg Foxhoven said the contractor’s bid was 200% more than the city engineer’s estimates, prompting engineers and consultants from Brandstetter Carroll Inc. to redesign the splash pad’s infrastructure and piping. Foxhoven added the pad will still remain the same in terms of its play features.

According to Foxhoven, the construction and infrastructure of the splash pad will cost $249,000 and the features — which he added were currently being worked on — will be another $91,000 for a total of $340,000.

The city will be reimbursed $100,000 from the state’s capital budget for projects for improved recreational activities and other capital projects that cannot be included in the state’s operating budget. 

To meet that reimbursement, the city has to send in its invoices to the state by late June and because the city is on a tight deadline to meet the state’s late June date, the project was not sent out to re-bid. Foxhoven added the projected opening date for the splash pad is Memorial Day weekend.

Shinn Brothers constructed Celina’s splash pad, which was completed last year at Mercelina Park, located on Lake Shore Drive, and also constructed St. Marys’ city pool.

The city’s budget for 2020 approved the appropriations for the splash pad at $350,000 so the city is still $10,000 under where it originally budgeted for the project.

Foxhoven added the splash pad will fit in the grass area just west of the shelter house. 

He described the shape of the pad similar to the shape of a snowman, with the bigger portion of the pad closest to High Street and the smaller portion of the pad — also meant more for younger children — being closer to the shelter house. No memorial trees will have to be removed to fit the splash pad into the area.

The splash pad will still be free to the public and it will be open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day — the same dates as the pool. 

The idea for a splash pad originated from Kristy Guy’s fourth-grade class at St. Marys Intermediate School two years ago when the class met with members of the St. Marys Parks and Playgrounds Committee to pitch their idea and the city has been behind it ever since.

In late May, the city released a letter to community and business leaders asking for monetary donations to help offset some of the cost for the splash pad. 

Foxhoven added the city is still accepting donations.