VINTON — Despite hurdles of cost, weather and the uncertainty of ownership the splash pad at Vinton’s Kiwanis Park is complete.
Matt Boggess, Vinton Parks and Recreation Department (VPRD) Director, shared the news Friday, November 20. All of the water features had been installed at splash pad in Kiwanis Park, W 13th Street.
Next spring, staff will work on landscaping around the splash pad, but that work will not hamper the official opening of the water feature in late May 2021.
During a city council meeting earlier this month, Boggess had raised concerns that with the weather conditions there may be aspects of the splash pad that could be not completed yet this fall. During the meeting, council members had approved his request to push the completion of date of the project to next spring. “We are going to get as much done yet this fall as we can, considering the weather conditions,” Boggess had stated.
Department staff and contractors associated with the project had concerns about the curing of the cement due to the lower temperatures being experienced in Iowa.
The splash pad project started with an idea in 2016 to provide a water activity on the opposite side of the community than the swimming pool. Members of the local Kiwanis Club quickly gave their support of the project and over the course of the project have donated over $200,000 to help with the construction of the splash pad.
However, after the fundraising had started for the project, the City was thrown a curve ball when it was offered the grounds of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School (IBSSS).
It was learned that the Kiwanis Park was actually on lease to the City of Vinton by the Iowa Board of Regents and not owned by the City.
While city officials worked thru the logistics of taking ownership of the IBSSS grounds, steps were also put in place to gain ownership of the park.
Until that happened, it was decided to put the splash pad on hold until the matter could be resolved.
In 2019 the rec department picked up the baton to move forward with the project.
However, the first attempts to find a contractor for the project was detoured when submitted bids were much higher than the engineer’s project estimates. In one case, a submitted bid was more than double the engineer’s estimated cost of the project.
VPRD staff, its board of directors and council members worked together in the fall of 2019 to come up with a plan for funding on the project, looking at cost savings in the current budget as well as additional funds for the City.
At a meeting in October of last year, Tom Lindauer, a member of the VPRD board, and Boggess asked for the council’s help in order to be able to look for bids yet last year.
“If we wait for February (2020) when the budget is approved then we are going to have to wait until 2021 before construction can begin,” Lindauer stated.
Working together to find the funding for the project, bids for the project were requested and one accepted for construction to begin in spring 2020.
August’s derecho storm brought the project to a stand still while construction crews and city staff helped with the clean up after the storm.
Along the way there were other set backs that caused Boggess to first ask for a spring 2021 extension of the project.
“We are going to get as much work done yet this fall as we can,” he told the council in October. “But if the weather doesn’t get better I have concerns about pouring cement.”
With all of the community support in the project, Boggess explained he didn’t want to rush the construction which may cause problems down the road.
Because of the timing, the council declined to push back the closing date of the project, citing that there was still a month left of the original plan.
With the determination of all parties involved and favorable weather the various water features were able to be installed after the poured concrete pad met the necessary requirements.