Evart City Council moves forward with plans for splash pad

EVART — The vision of dozens of playing children scurrying around as water rains down around them to a splash pad became something members of the Evart City Council could see in the future for the city.

On Monday night, the council voted to direct City Manager Zack Szakacs to begin researching the feasibility, the technical aspects and scale of having a splash pad built Evart’s Riverside Park. A splash pad is an area with fountains and hoses that spray water onto a play area for children and adults. The funding would come from federal money the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Block Grant Program controls for grant funding programs, as part of the city’s selection as a Project Rising Tide community.

Citing Midland’s large splash pad as an example for council members, Szakacs explained the work to begin the first step in the process needed to be done within the next couple weeks, as applications for those grants are due by the end of the year so it can be bid out.

“When I started talking with officials about what direction we were looking to go and what the other nine communities are doing, they were real excited about the idea of a splash pad,” Szakacs said.

Having a splash pad in Evart, he explained to council members, would fulfill the specific criteria for the project’s grant: integrating the school and community; visibility to those who live and pass through the city; and bring a sense of pride to the community.

With the grant funds available, Szakacs said the city would only have to pay 10 percent of the cost.

In other action from Monday’s meeting, Evart Fire Chief Shane Helmer made a small presentation to council members about the upcoming expansion work for the fire department’s building, seeking the council’s support for the project as well as agreeing to being the bond fiduciary if the fire department was unable to be one.

Helmer explained the townships surrounding the city which contribute funds for the department have put their support behind the project, which would include three bays for trucks, shower facilities, a weight room, an educational community room, as well as repairing a small portion of the roof.

The city’s portion of the total $500,000 cost would be around $103,000, which Szakacs said the city has available and it would not be directly put on the taxpayers.

There is a possibility, Helmer explained, the project could include an addition for Osceola County Emergency Medical Services if county officials choose to have an EMS satellite base located there.

“Whether (EMS) decides to be a part of it, we’re moving forward with the project,” Helmer told council members.

Councils members agreed to be the bond fiduciary if necessary, and unanimously supported the project.