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Park Commission to explore possibility of splash park

A splash park is being proposed for the north part of Trailside Park in Pequot Lakes, the city council learned Tuesday, Oct. 1.

The proposed site is at the corner of Highway 371 and East Sibley Street, across from Probuild lumber. A splash park is a water area for children that has no standing water of any depth. It includes nozzles and fixtures children can activate by pushing a button to spray water.

Cathy Malecha and Craig Nagel of the Pequot Lakes Park Commission presented the proposal to the council, asking for the council’s approval to begin raising money for a 42- by 58-foot splash park.

The idea is to raise funds for a splash park using local fundraising and grants, not city funds. The commission would only ask the council to provide unheated restroom facilities, proposed to be between Dru’s Garden and the Veterans Memorial in Trailside Park, estimated at $25,000-$30,000.

The council granted approval for the park commission to proceed. The commission’s next step will be to set a budget and do more research regarding costs.

“We know if we don’t raise it, it isn’t going to fly, and we really want it to fly,” Malecha said.

Estimated costs are $200,000 at the most, Malecha said, adding there are ways to work around those costs with grants, etc.

Nagel said the main reason to build a splash park is to make Pequot Lakes a destination and add to what the city already has in parks. People want more amenities for children, he said.

Council member Dave Sjoblad said most shoppers are women, so while they shop the fathers could bring children to the splash park.

A second phase of the splash park would be a playground.

Malecha said she has talked to other cities with splash parks, including Princeton, Royalton and New Ulm. Princeton officials said building a splash park was the best asset the city ever put in.

A fundraising committee would work under the Friends of the Library’s nonprofit status.