GRAFTON — The relative balminess of 40 degrees Monday — never mind the winter storm watch that came out later in the day — made it perfect for touting a new splash pad to be built for the summer.
“It’s been a tough winter, but it will warm up,” Gregg Miller, president of the Grafton Midview Kiwanis, said as he and others waited to take part in a ceremonial groundbreaking for the village’s long-anticipated Grafton Midview Splash Station at North Park.
The first phase of the 1,900-square-foot Splash Station is set to open about Memorial Day and will feature a series of ground-mounted spray nozzles to cool youngsters on hot summer days.
“It’s been a long process,” Mayor Megan Flanigan said, noting discussion of the project at a Village Council meeting she attended as a resident before being elected in November 2011.
“It went through a lot of changes,” Miller said, which ranged from state regulations for such projects, and new Kiwanis and village leadership, to three designs.
“At first they were talking about something about 2,700 square feet in size, and then it went down to 800 to 900 square feet, which was too small,” Miller said.
The project first was discussed in 2009 when the Grafton Kiwanis was looking for a new attraction to add to one of the village’s parks.
The idea narrowed to a water park-style facility that would be simple to use, safe and accessible to everyone.
“While there will be a number of things for small children, it’s designed for everyone including older kids,” Miller said.
The Splash Station will join a picnic shelter, playground equipment, restrooms and a community room.
About $100,000 has already been raised through a combination of state and federal grants, donations and village capital improvement funds to construct a concrete foundation as well as below-ground water lines and other equipment including a pump house, Miller said.
Part of the reason for the project’s lengthy timeline was determining the scope of the water features and their cost.
Once state approvals were obtained, the project moved swiftly, said Alyson Moritz, village administrator, who said bids were received in January, and a contract awarded in February to Brookside Construction Co., a Toledo general contractor that has constructed similar splash pad projects in Medina, Lyndhurst and South Euclid.
Plans call for an additional $90,000 to be raised through fundraisers and donations to add other water attractions in the next couple of years. About $17,000 of that sum has been raised to date.
Those features include an 18-foot water tower that sprays water on those standing below, a “sluice” in which toddlers can immerse their hands as water runs past, water cannons that can be rotated for water “fights,” and a water slide built to resemble a train.
“By donating money, people can indicate which ‘toy’ they’d like to see at the park,” Miller said. “It helps people take ownership of the facility.”