• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Priming the pump

Splash pad committee seeking county, state funds
The committee pursuing a splash pad for the Solon community presented revised cost estimates and a concept plan to members of the Solon City Council at a March 2 meeting. (graphic courtesy Stanley Consultants, Inc.)

SOLON– Solon’s splash pad committee is still not close to its goal of raising approximately $400,000.
But it’s much closer than it was two years ago.
Melissa Tiedemann, chair of the splash pad committee, told council members at a Dec. 20 meeting about $80,000 has been collected for the project.
The committee had $5,000 in March of 2016.
Tiedemann joined the committee after receiving an initial mailer from Solon Activities Director Mike Reeve and has spent the last year as chair of the committee.
When she joined the group, Tiedemann told council members, she had one young child. Now she has two.
“I have kind of a personal vested interest in it now,” Tiedemann said.
A splash pad is a water play area with no standing water, typically featuring water nozzles spraying into the air. It was identified as the top response in a 2012 online survey that asked local residents to pick a possible capital park improvement.
The committee has done a variety of fundraisers over the last couple of years, but after a strong push, interest had tapered off.
“My goal this past year has been to kind of reinvigorate the community, because without the community support it’s not going to happen,” she said.
Over the last year, Tiedemann said, the committee has engaged with a number of service organizations in the community to build up the base of contributions.
The Solon Women’s Club donated proceeds from its last two mini-Christmas tree decorating contests held at the Solon Public Library, while the Solon Beef Days Committee has pledged $25,000 over five years, she reported.
Committee representatives appeared before the Optimist Club of Solon and the Solon Area Community Foundation in November, Tiedemann said, and both groups responded positively and are expected to come to the table.
She said the splash pad members would also be meeting with the Solon Centennial Lion’s Club.
“Outside the community, we’ve applied for two grants, and so far, our rate is 100 percent,” she said.
The Community Foundation of Johnson County awarded $2,400 to the cause, Tiedemann noted, while the Wellmark Foundation came through with $21,780 in September.
Coupled with $24,000 committed by the City of Solon and other private donations, the splash pad committee has raised close to $80,000, she said.
“Our goal is to keep getting the momentum moving,” Tiedemann added.
Based on the group’s fundraising capabilities, she said, the project would likely have to be done in phases.
The overall project includes a handicapped accessible splash pad area (about 50 feet in diameter) and an open shelter with restrooms and an adequate changing area.
The committee, with assistance from Outdoor Recreation Products of Ames and Stanley Consultants, Inc., developed conceptual art for marketing purposes, and V&K Engineering is planning to donate work for site plan documents.
The splash pad, to be located at the Solon Recreation and Nature Area adjacent to the city’s new ground storage water reservoir, would be of the “pump and dump” style, meaning the water used for the features is not recycled, but could be potentially be used to irrigate the area.
The structures, made of powder-coated stainless steel, would carry a 10 year warranty, and maintenance would most likely come in the form of cleaning the sprinkling heads and replacing motion sensors, according to previous council discussions.
A lot of the water features will operate on motion sensors, so if nobody’s there, the splash pad turns itself off. Seasonally, the splash pad could go through 1,000,000 gallons of water, according to early estimates.
The next step for the splash pad committee, Tiedemann said, is to approach the Johnson County government.
“Solon is a unique community because a lot of our residents not only live inside the city limits but also outside,” she said. “So we’re going to the county in the hopes they will contribute.”
The committee hopes to use the county support to build an application to the state’s Community Attraction and Tourism grant program.
“They key to that is participation by the county,” she explained. Applicants must demonstrate a collaborative community effort which includes city, county and private funding.
“We know they fund splash pads, they have historically, they just did in their last funding cycle,” Tiedemann observed, noting the committee intends to prepare a strong application.
“Outstanding work,” remarked Mayor Steve Stange.