Splash pad funding taking shape
by RANDY OLSON
A new splash pad is getting closer to reality for Sauk Centre after the city council discussed and approved funding allocations last Wednesday.
The splash pad committee, which is working closely with the Park Board, has put together a number of funding options the council can consider.
“To move forward with obtaining more funding, the process is now to the point where the city council should consider making a more formal fund allocation,” said City Administrator Vicki Willer.
“That type of formality will then be used as the official city ‘match’ for grant applications and also allow the Park Board to continue moving forward with planning.”
The city council Finance Committee met on Feb. 28 and set forth a recommendation that the Park Board take a lead role in the supporting development of Multi-Purpose Park features such as irrigation, trees and a shelter. Many of those items are funded with campground profits, plus what’s reserved year to year.
“The Finance Committee recommended the city put up a $50,000 allocation that can be used for a dollar-for-dollar match,” said Willer.
“Each element of the park comes to the council for approval, just as you voted on irrigation and a walking trail recently.”
Park Dedication funds are another source of funding for the splash pad.
Mayor Brad Kirckof, who serves on the Finance Committee with councilman Mike Olson, commented, “The Finance Committee spent considerable time on this, as well as the Multi-Purpose Park plan and development. We believe we should continue with this project. The Splash Pad Committee has put in a lot of hard work.”
Kirckof noted that the little pieces have to fit together, like adding a park shelter and water-related infrastructure to help the project fall into place.
“We’ve secured some grant money funding already,” said Kirckof.
“There’s a lot of interest in the city to move this project forward. It will help our campground, among other things, in many ways.”
Willer explained potential sources from which the city could offer $50,000 towards the splash pad and park development.
“We want to stay away from direct property tax components of funding with costs to general residents. One source is interest allocations from the hospital, and another could come into play when more TIF (tax increment finance) districts de-certify,” she said.
“The council will discuss how to allocate the money before it’s distributed. We want input from the whole council.”
A motion to approve a fund for matching dollars up to $50,000 for the splash pad passed 4-0, with councilman Mike Olson absent.