Splashing its way to Atlantic: A New Splash Pad

Planning for the splash pad project is underway in Atlantic.


Atlantic Parks and Recreation

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department aims to create fun environments for everyone.

Katie Birge, Editor

A splash-pad for sunnyside park is coming to Atlantic, Iowa. According to executive committee member Ali Pieken, the Parks and Recreation Board put together the executive members who are to oversee the committees for the splash pad project and make the overall decisions. Pieken said that these executive committee members are Jolene Smith, Jeff Christensen, Erin McFadden, and herself. “Everything kind of has to go through us,” Pieken said. 

According to Pieken, the city has been talking about the splash pad for a while. “Unfortunately with the turnover of Parks and Recs’ directors, that hurt it. Just because we would get one and they would be excited about it and try and do things, and then they would leave,” she said. Up until now, there hasn’t been a set committee to help organize and make the splash pad project happen. Pieken brought it to the city’s attention that she wanted to make the splash pad project work. “I was wanting to be like the diving force to make it happen, and so I was very upfront about my willingness to help and to participate and just to make it happen.”

Right now, Pieken is working with Synders and Associates on the infrastructure part. She is currently in what she called the “design phase.” She is working with companies in order to come up with a rendering, which is an image of what the splash pad is vaguely going to look like. “I am working with all these different contractors to come up with a final rendering, and this rendering will only be used for fundraising purposes.” The provided image will be used for fundraising purposes after they find and vote on a version they like most. It is important that this rendering is as accurate as possible so that the public knows what they are donating their money to, and when companies do public bids on it, they know they can afford to build it. 

According to Pieken, the splash pad will be free to use. There will also be no age restriction, nor will it need to be staffed. “There is no age restriction, but there will be more kind of age-appropriate areas,” Pieken said. She refers to these age-appropriate areas as bays. “What we are going to have as far as design goes is different bays. There is going to be like a toddler bay part of the splash pad and there is going to be kind of like a big kids bay,” Pieken said. There will also be activators, which will turn on the water for the park for a few minutes and then shut off before needing to be turned on again. The toddler bay will have its own activator for parents who have little kids not in school, and are using only the toddler bay of the splash pad. This prevents wasting water. Pieken said they are looking at close to five thousand square feet of play space. She is also planning on adding shade and seating to the splash pad.

Pieken is also part of the fundraising committee. The other members of the fundraising committee include Jeremy Butler, John Krogman, and Mallory Robinson. Krogman and Butler are the splash pad fundraising co-chairs, and they are on the Parks and Recreation board. According to Butler, his role in the splash pad project is to “appoint and direct the fundraising committee.” According to Butler and Pieken, the fundraising committee has not met up yet. Butler said he and Krogman are both a part of the Parks and Recreation board, so they have been busy conducting interviews for that position. Butler said they are currently in the process of hiring for park director because the previous park director, Bryant Rasmussen, resigned. “Those will end [this] week, so it will be kicked off after that,” Butler said. “We’ve just been really busy with doing that right now.”

According to Butler, there is going to be “very little tax money going into it, it’s got to all be raised in order for the project to succeed.” The money for the splash pad project has to be either from fundraising or grants. Butler said the project is going to be approximately 600,000 dollars, however, they won’t know for sure until it goes out for solid bids. “We have to have half that money [approximately 300,000 dollars raised] before we can put it to the bid process,” Butler said. Whenever something is a public entity, according to Butler, it has to go out for public bids. When a project goes out for public bids, a company will give them a bid on what they will build it for. “Before it goes out for those bids, where those companies will bid on it, we have to have approximately half that money raised,” Butler said. According to Pieken, since the project is city-owned they can not choose which company to build the splash pad, instead, they have to choose the lowest bidder. “You don’t get to select, you have to go out for a public bid,” Pieken said. “It’s a legal thing.” 

Pieken is passionate about free amity for the public, which is why she personally wanted a splash pad in Atlantic. She realizes that there are a lot of kids who miss out on recreational activities because they don’t have the money to do them. “From the get-go, I was really passionate about making sure that it was free,” Pieken said. She also believes that Atlantic needs more things to do to keep kids out of trouble and that the splash pad is a good idea because it is fun, safe, and free.

A survey was shared with Atlantic High School students and staff where the majority of people agreed that Atlantic needs more things to do. Many believed that a splash pad would provide a much-needed activity to Atlantic. There were mixed opinions about themselves using the splash pad though since the activity is aimed at younger kids. “I love splash pads,” junior Addie Welsh said. “Even when I don’t want to go when my family does, I can just sit and draw and enjoy the weather,” she said. Some said they would use the splash pad if their friends were going, or if they wanted to take their younger siblings or the kids they babysit to it. “Splash pads are not usually something I find interesting to do,” senior Rio Johnson said. “If I were asked or planned to go with a group of friends I think I would love to go,” she said. Others said they wouldn’t because they believed they were too old. Some also said that they would rather use the pool. Most people who responded to the survey, however, shared the belief that the splash pad will be a great activity for little kids. “I believe with there being nothing but parks for the younger kids, and only a small children section at the pool, a splash pad will be just what this town needs,” para educator Cassidy Coenen said. 

Pieken encourages more people to join the fundraising committee. “Fundraising for this and donations are a tax-deductible thing, so people that want that off of their taxes, it is a tax write-off,” she said. When the time comes for people to be able to donate, they will probably have a venmo, and an account at a local bank. People can also get in contact with board members too if they would like to donate. Pieken would like the public to know that “fundraising and donations are a tax-deductible thing.”