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Carman Splash Pad looking for fundraising boost

Emily Distefano 

This is what the future Carman Splash Pad will look like - it is the approved design provided by PlayQuest Recreation.

This is what the future Carman Splash Pad will look like - it is the approved design provided by PlayQuest Recreation.

CARMAN  - 

The Carman Splash Pad Committee has finalized a splash pad design and is hoping to make a big enough fundraising push to let them start construction this summer.

The Town of Carman and RM of Dufferin recently approved the group’s first choice of splash pad design and construction company, but the committee still has to raise around $100,000 to meet their $350,000 budget.

Committee member Lynsey Hannah said that while the group initially decided on a lower budget of around $250,000, once they started researching the infrastructure and operation costs of other splash pads in Manitoba it was an easy decision to raise the initial fundraising goal to ensure lower costs for the municipalities - and local ratepayers - for years to come.

“We had to increase the budget to accommodate a recirculating system, which pumps water through a large tank similar to a pool,” Hannah said. “This is versus a flow through system which wastes a lot of water, or a repurpose tank which was not recommended by any of the communities who have one. The upfront cost is a lot more for a recirculating system, but the operation cost per season is significantly lower.”

She said they began planning for a recirculating system within their original budget, but ended up spending more money on the underground operations than on the pad and features itself, leading to a extremely small splash pad. “Our committee was just trying to sort through this around the same time that the Gunns made their generous donation to the project,” said Hannah. “Thus, our budget was increased to allow for an appropriately sized splash pad, with the water system that would meet agreeable long term costs for the Town and RM.”

Hannah said the committtee is very happy with their final design selection.

“We’re excited to share it with the community,” she said.

The design is structured in three sections. One side is geared towards older kids, with more exciting and more interactive water features. The middle section is a family section, with a combination of features. And on the other side is a toddler-friendly section with gentler mists and smaller features aimed towards smaller kids.

“We really tried, when we worked with the company, to include everything on our wishlist,” Hannah said. That wishlist is based on community survey responses about what kind of features people want to see.

She said she is especially excited about the water table with a dam and reflecting figures, which is unique as far the committee’s research on Manitoba splash pads goes. “It’s one of these features that multiple kids can play on,” she said. “You could have four or five kids around at the same time doing cooperative play and its more engaging.”

And Hannah said one of the benefits of the company they chose is that they can switch out features in future.

The splash pad construction timeline is still up in the air. “We’re really hopeful that we’ll be able to break ground this year,” said Hannah. “If we can fundraise this money quickly we can get this done.”

“We’re kind of near the finish line,” she added. “We’re just really excited about it and we want to community to feel excited about it too.”

Committee Member Nicky Spencer said the group has raised about $250,000 so far, which is impressive, but they still need to raise around $100,000. The committee has some grant irons in the fire and are hoping to raise the remaining money through local businesses and other community initiatives.

Knockabouts recently made the project the beneficiary of its clearance sale for a day, and various paint nights have helped to add money to the coffers.

Up next are a Co-op barbecue on June 3 and both a Touch-a-Truck and Ford Drive for UR Community event on June 17.

The barbecue is set for this Saturday, June 3 from 11:00 am till 2:00 pm.

The Touch-a-Truck and Ford Drive events will both be located around the Carman Fairgrounds.

On June 17 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every Ford vehicle test drive will earn $20 for the Carman Splash Pad project. There is no cost for this event and every family that participates will be entered to win a family pool pass.

The Touch-a-Truck event will have a $5 per person or $20 per family entry fee and will run from noon till five pm in the same area.

The Town of Carman, the RM of Dufferin and various local businesses will be bringing vehicles out for the day, Spencer said. “The kids can sit in them, touch them look at all those fun trucks,” she said. “There’s going to be a tow truck, fire truck, combines, tractors. There will also be a bounce castle.”

And besides events, paving stones are available for $250. The 12x12 inch paving stones will line the splash pad and can contain whatever name or logo you want.

Spencer said the community has been amazingly generous so far. “I can’t stress enough how amazing the businesses, the communities, the community people have been,” she said.

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edistefano@postmedia.com