Tori Sutton, Stratford Gazette
It has been out of the headlines for a few months, but the push to build a splash pad in Stratford is by no means dead in the water.
In fact, the citizens’ committee heading up fundraising for the project hopes to launch its campaign next month.
“We had optimistic plans to roll this out back in early summer, but with everyone on the committee having young children, busy schedules and vacations, it has hit the backburner,” said committee head Mike Doupe. “We will certainly be back on track in the next couple weeks.”
The finishing touches are being put on the campaign, which aims to raise $400,000.
City council gave its final stamp of approval to the project in late January, approving a non-circulating splash pad system for Anne Hathaway Park.
Initial estimates indicate the 4,000-square-foot pad could cost about $346,000, including new washrooms and servicing.
Optional items such as a spray wall, shade structures and seating could cost an additional $127,000.
There is currently $25,000 in city reserves for the project.
The fundraising committee is being backed by the Rotary Club of Festival City, which will be handling all the financial transactions and issuing charitable receipts for the project.
The service club also launched the first fundraiser to benefit the splash pad, along with other community projects.
Tickets are currently on sale for the Dinner of the Month draw, which features a raffle each month to win a meal for four at participating restaurants, including Pazzo, the Annex Room, Foster’s, Raja, Rundles, Down the Street and The Parlour.
The grand prize is dinner for 10 at the Old Rectory B & B.
Tickets are $20 each or six for $100 and are available at Orr Insurance or through any Rotary Club of Festival City member.
“We certainly are benefitting from the generous support of the Rotary Club of Festival City,” said Doupe. “... We’re very grateful for their involvement.”
Currently, there are about 15 to 20 people involved with the fundraising committee at any given time.
Doupe admits some experienced frustration with the city regarding the project and felt it took to long to gain approvals.
However, he understands the need to follow the process, especially since the city will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the splash pad once built.
“I think in the world today there’s a lot of expectations for immediate gratification ... sometimes that’s not reasonable,” he said, adding he is pleased with the support of Coun. Paul Nickel and the community services subcommittee, along with the community services department.
“There’s a lot of processes to go through when you are dealing with municipal property.”
And now the ball is really in the court of the fundraising committee, who must focus on the task at hand, Doupe said.
“It’s difficult to say, but dependent on community and corporate support, we would love to see a groundbreaking next spring,” he said. “That may be optimistic, but I’m an optimistic kind of guy.”