Project is moving forward as attention turns to raising funds for terracing, shade structure

 - The following artwork depicts what many splash pad attractions feature.

When work began to bring a splash pad to Prineville, project leaders dove into the effort without certainty that their preferred site was viable.

The chosen location for the water-based, family attraction — on Stryker Field near the corner of Northeast Fourth and Court streets — is part of a flood plain. Project leaders with Prineville Kiwanis Club therefore needed approval from FEMA to move forward with the splash pad.

That concern was finally alleviated this past week when the federal organization finally approved use of the field.

"We have confirmation that we can now use our preferred site," said Wayne Looney, who is helping spearhead the effort. "That is a big break for us."

Looney went on to credit Phil Stenbeck with the FEMA approval, noting that the city planning director had played a prominent role in persuading the organization to sign off on the project location.

The idea for a splash pad originated about three years ago when Kiwanis member Linda Smith suggested the idea as one of the club's capital projects. Preliminary research determined the splash pad exceeded the club's financial resources, however this past year, Kiwanis was able to secure an $80,000 grant from Facebook, which gave the idea new life.

Anderson Pools, a Portland-based company that Looney said is one of the top pool builders in the state, was chosen to complete the project.

"We will now continue to work with Jason Schlock of Anderson Pools, who has been over on the site," Looney said.

The cost of the splash pad itself is about $150,000, and thanks to donations from Crook County and Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce, and the Facebook grant, the Kiwanis Club has enough money in hand to fund that portion of the project. However, it will cost another $35,000 to terrace the grassy slope leading down to the pad from the street and build a shade structure.

"There will be three terraces that will have grass surfaces and Allan Block walls for people to sit on and view the feature itself," Looney said. "Then there are three very attractive and sizeable shade structures that will provide shade to a significant portion of that terraced property."

Looney recently met with Lance Romine, who will build the shade structure, and City Engineer Eric Klan at the splash pad site to take measurements and ensure the terrace plans and shading structure would fit the property.

Satisfied that the idea will work, Kiwanis leaders will continue to focus on raising the additional $35,000 needed to pay for the features.

"We are in the process of reaching out to a couple of grantors in the state," Looney said. In addition, the club is soliciting monetary donations from the public. "We wanted individuals in the community to have a chance to give us $20 if they wanted to."

So far, the public outreach has been reasonably successful.

"We have raised some money," Looney said, "but more importantly to our group, it gives people a chance to be invested in the project."

Project leaders have also turned to the City of Prineville for financial help building a concrete restroom structure near the site. The building would feature a women's and men's room on opposite sides of the structure with a space between that would house the pumps and other equipment used to operate the splash pad.

"We have asked the city to fund that bathroom," Looney said, adding that negotiations are ongoing at this point. "That bathroom is going to expensive — I would estimate around $80,000."

Kiwanis Club members hope to break ground on the splash pad during the spring when weather permits, with the new attraction available for use by this coming summer.

"I think it will be a good amenity for the community," Looney concluded.

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