Prineville may not get a new pool by next summer, but local kids could likely see another public water feature by then.
Former Kiwanis president Wayne Looney unveiled plans for a splash pad at a Wednesday morning Crook County Court meeting. The civic group has worked with local leaders on the idea for about three years.
"Our Kiwanis group has a policy that every so often, as funds permit, we want to build a capital project in the community that primarily serves the children," Looney said.
He pointed to their last project, a toddler playground at Pioneer Park, as an example of that effort, before continuing to explain what a splash pad would look like.
"It is simply a cement pad with water features in it," Looney said. "Typically, there are jets that come straight out of the cement and they can be activated by children, usually by a stomping pad."
He went on to say that a splash pad can include a variety of features depending on what is affordable, what space allows and what is appropriate for the community.
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. It will be located on Stryker Field near the corner of Northeast Fourth and Court streets, and Kiwanis plans to terrace the slope from the Fourth Street sidewalk to the pad on the lower portion of the field and provide a shaded area.
"It will have sails on it that are very much like the ones at Pioneer Park," Looney said. "It would be a place where parents can come and monitor children safely and sit in the shade and enjoy the day."
Looney credits fellow Kiwanis member Linda Smith with suggesting the splash pad about three years ago. At that time, the club requested a bid for the project.
"It was frightening," Looney remarked, "and it put it out of our purview and put it on the back burner."The project had little traction until about a year ago, when Crook County Judge Seth Crawford suggested that Kiwanis apply for a grant from Facebook to fund a portion of the splash pad. The idea proved successful, Looney said, with Facebook awarding the group $80,000 — but there was a catch that could have prevented Kiwanis from receiving the critical funding.
"The caveat in that grant was that we needed to do it this summer," Looney said. "We weren't prepared to do that."
But Kiwanis was able to negotiate with Facebook and work out a solution where the group could build the splash pad the following spring. This will require the club to come up with at least another $50,000 from sources other than the grant and the $20,000 Kiwanis is paying for the project.
Looney said that other entities have shown interest in contributing funds, including the county.
"I am pretty excited about this," Crawford said. He discussed the possibility of the county utilizing around $30,000 of its transient room tax dollars to help fund the project, pointing out that the tax dollars are typically spent on items that help enhance local tourism. He said a splash pad would meet that objective.
"It is near a lot of our restaurants downtown," Crawford said. "Maybe bringing a few more people down there will help rejuvenate that area and bring more businesses in there."
To raise the remaining funds to cover the $150,000 price tag, or exceed it and improve upon the current design, Looney said Kiwanis will conduct community outreach efforts.
"We need to do a collaborative effort," he said. "The more funding we can get for this, the nicer we can make it."
Assuming Kiwanis can collect the necessary funds, construction will begin at some point in the spring, and take only 30 days to complete.
"We think it should be well received," Looney said. "It will be something that I am positive our children will enjoy for a long time."