November 27, 2022

Splash Pad Committee provided positive feedback from council members

George, Mullan and Trotter commend the presenters on proposed project

Feedback from city council members was positive after the Splash Pad Committee presented their idea for a new recreational opportunity in Newton.

Originally, the committee’s splash pad presentation was pitched in front of the Newton Park Board in mid-December. Although there were some concerns from park board members, most thought the inclusion of a splash pad in a centrally located area of the city would benefit the city in a number of ways.

Councilperson Craig Trotter had no questions for the Splash Pad Committee after their 15-minute presentation, but he did have one comment:

“I think this sounds like a great idea,” Trotter said. “If you guys can raise the money that would be fantastic. I always thought a splash pad would be great.”

The Splash Pad Committee estimates a splash pad could cost between $250,000 and $300,000 without a water recirculation system. If a recirculation system is included, the price estimate jumps to between $385,000 and $435,000. Yearly maintenance would likely cost about $4,000, the committee said.

Councilperson Evelyn George acknowledged the park board has been pitching a splash pad for a number of years. One of the struggles the park board came across was the location of where to put a splash pad.

“This is one that I don’t recall being brought up,” George said of the proposed location on a city-owned lot at 224 W. Third St. N., just west of Bank Iowa. “It is a beautiful addition to the Newton downtown, and — as you say — a good segue for walkability, a walkway to Legacy Plaza.”

Councilperson Steve Mullan has visited a number of communities that have splash pads. Some towns that have them include: Fort Dodge, Grinnell and Spirit Lake. Mullan said it’s always great to see parents there with their kids having a fun time with the water.

“A lot of parents are communicating with each other or they just come and they have no kids around and they just sit on a limestone bench and read — just peace and quiet, the sound of water is a soothing sound,” Mullan added.

Mullan asked if the splash pad could be multi-purpose, like possibly acting as an ice skating rink in the winter. Newton Park Board Member Bryce Heitman, who is also a member of the committee, said those discussions have taken place.

“The park, if you will, has enough green space that we could take an ice rink and move it into that space,” Heitman said. “And we’re also kind of envisioning a winter market or a Christmas market with like Santa Claus there and everything and you could kind of turn it into a cool experience that way.”

Depending on the type of splash pad installed and if they coolant supplies are included in the concrete, it could be iced over and become and ice skating rink. Heitman said a lot of that hinges on selecting a design firm to get a feel for the space and scope of the project.

One of the next steps for the Splash Pad Committee is figuring out how to raise the money for a design firm. Sometime within the next six to eight weeks, Heitman said the committee will likely present a resolution “asking for something.” The main ask is securing the city-owned lot for the splash pad.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com