by Victoria Howell
At least one person in Stevensville is breathing a sigh of relief. Joan Prather, chair of the Stevensville Splash Pad committee, can now say the project at Lewis & Clark Park has been completed and is ready for the community to enjoy.
The idea for a splash pad bubbled to the surface in 2019, when the Stevensville Civic Club took a survey of the public at a couple of community events. “Based on that, we were able to figure out that the splash pad was a very popular item that the community would support,” said Prather.
She said that the committee, made up of Civic Club officers, town officials, Project 59870 board members, and some local contractors, had its initial meeting in July of 2020. A basic drawing was presented and suggestions were made for people that might be willing to help with the project.
Andy Lassiter, working through Schrock Construction, came on board to help put together a budget and a plan for how long it would take.
”That year we were really busy with fundraising,” said Prather. “Between the contributions, the grants and the other fundraising, including the most successful pie auction in the history of that event, to date there has been over $160,000 raised in support of this project. We have invested $143,000 and we still have some things yet that we have to do. We were really fortunate with all the community support. Jim Pfau and Bill McNulty really came through for us as auctioneers at our pie auction. They were just awesome.”
Prather said the committee continued to meet all through that year, and was hoping to get started with the installation in the spring of 2021. Committee member Sydney Allen, a kindergarten teacher, helped organize a contest for students to come up with ideas for names. “Trout Spout” was the top selection.
“We were hoping to have the project completed in 2021, but there were some extenuating circumstances so we had to stop for the winter,” said Prather. “In 2022, we picked it up again. Our people who had committed, such as Schrock and Snow Mountain Electric and Donaldson Bros., everybody stuck with the program and we were able to continue where we left off. Now the splash pad is completed, and it’s so exciting. The community is going to love this. We just had a test run and it ran perfectly.”
Laying the sod was the last thing that had to be done, other than the furniture. Once the sod was laid, Prather said they had to put up some signs asking people not to not walk on that grass for awhile. “We had to leave the fence up for a bit too,” she said, “to help preserve the sod, but families will still be able to enjoy the splash pad.”
The furniture – tables and benches – is expected to arrive around the third week of August. It will be ADA accessible, as is the entire splash pad. “We’re really pleased about that so that everyone can enjoy it,” Prather said.
“I would just like to say that we can’t thank the community enough for the support they have shown for this, and the in-kind contributors for their talent and skill,” said Prather. “Because of all of them, we have been able to accomplish this major project that will be enjoyed by our community and surrounding communities for years to come.”
Prather said that at the Creamery Picnic Garden Party on Thursday, August 4 at 6:30 p.m. the Civic Club will be honoring our local service providers who have been there for us through our emergencies – ambulance, fire, police – during the Covid pandemic. There will also be a grand opening celebration of the splash pad, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and free refreshments served to all.
“We are so glad we’re done and it’s time to celebrate,” said Prather. “Come on down to Lewis & Clark Park and join us for a nice evening.”
Prather isn’t going to be retiring her leadership skills quite yet. She is organizing a Pot of Gold raffle which will be held during the Creamery Picnic. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and the lucky winner will receive $2022. The raffle is being sponsored by A2Z Personnel and the money raised from the raffle will be used for future needs of the splash pad as well as other Civic Club projects. Watch for youth selling tickets and you can also get them at Burnt Fork Market and at A2Z Personnel.