The Sault’s first-ever splash pad is officially underway.
Shovels hit the dirt at Bellevue Park early Thursday afternoon at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Mayor Christian Provenzano said the splash pad will be free and accessible to “anyone and everyone” and will be an additional asset to the city’s premiere park.
“This will ensure as many people as possible are able to enjoy a fun, outdoor summer experience,” he explained.
Splash Pad Committee co-chair and Ward One Councilor Paul Christian said he thinks the splash pad is an important asset to the city.
“The City of Sault Ste. Marie and its citizens have recognized this as a priority project through the Parks and Recreation Master Plan,” he said. “Beyond that, to me it’s about improving our quality of life. It’s about providing opportunity for our youth. We as a community are trying our best to promote Sault Ste Marie as a place to live, and we as citizens need to feel proud and happy to be living here and this is just one component to kind of get us there.”
Susan Meyers, also a co-chair of the Splash Pad Committee, said when her and Councilor Christian started looking into this project, one thing that struck her as interesting was that the Sault seemed to be the only place up North that didn’t already have a splash pad.
“Every community under the sun has a splash pad or splash park, except for Sault Ste. Marie,” she said. “All through Northern Ontario – I think Sudbury has seven of them, Elliot Lake has one – so on and so forth. So we just felt that it’s something that’s a really important part of summer time. I had one when I was growing up, Councilor Christian mentioned it earlier, there used to be a wading pool area in Bellevue Park. So it’s just one more piece of recreational fun for our citizens.”
The splash pad comes with a price tag of $500,000 – Most of which has been raised by the community and local organizations.
“It’s exciting to be here, to put a shovel in the ground on the splash pad,” Mayor Provenzano said. “We would not be here if it were not for the support of a very caring community and the service of our splash pad committee members.”
The Kiwanis Club Lakeshore and its foundation each raised $42,500 for the project; the Rotary Club raised $20,000, and Albert Williams Charity Hockey Tournament raised a little over $13,000. The mayor’s youth council also contributed $10,000.
City contributions included an initial $25,000 from their budget in 2017, as well as $240,000 from the city’s subdividers reserve and another $100, 200 from the 2017 budget surplus.
The splash pad, supplied by CRCS Recreation in Sudbury, will include engaging water features such as shower heads and spray jets with various activated, in-ground and above ground features that spray water in different patterns and directions, cooling people off on hot summer days.
The pad is expected to be up and running by mid-to-late August.