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Testing the waters again: City, Dixon park district, revisit idea of adding splash pads

DIXON – The Park District and the city are looking at renewing a partnership aimed at building a bigger splash pad that could compete with surrounding communities.

The splash pad in Vaile Park was built in 2009 with about $35,000 in donations, and the city pays for the water it uses. The longterm plan was to build splash pads in all corners of the city, but tight financial times kept those plans at bay.

About 2 years ago, the Park District and the City Council wanted to partner to expand the Vaile Park splash pad and possibly build a second one. The district had budgeted $50,000 for the expansion and presented a $120,000 project to the city, but the project was put on hold.

New district Executive Director Duane Long said he was contacted by City Manager Danny Langloss a few weeks ago about resurrecting the partnership to build a bigger splash pad at Wooden Wonderland, which could compete with others like Splash Canyon Spray Park in Oregon.

The district has to work within its means, but it would be a great recreational project to have in town, Long said.

“It’s important to spread the wealth of the splash pad and spread to another side of town,” he said.

Langloss said the idea came up during a meeting with leaders of area governments and organizations, including the School District, Park District, Dixon Family YMCA and the Lee County Industrial Development Association.

“It’s pretty clear we need water recreation activities in the city, and the council wants to be part of that,” Langloss said earlier this week.

They would look to pursue grants for the project and use in-house crews to do the bulk of the work, which was also the goal 2 years ago, but all the planning at this point is preliminary.

Splash Canyon opened at Park West in 2012 and cost about $125,000, which was funded from a $400,000 grant distributed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to expand recreational services at the park.

The Vaile Park splash pad recently received the addition of a new water activities table thanks to a $10,000 donation from Carol Novak, who died in November.

Long said they hope to keep adding onto the splash pad through community donations.

“The new water table is great, and is being used so much,” Long said. “It’s a very big success, and the kids love it.”


Call the Dixon Park District at 815-284-3306 or City Hall at 815-288-1485 for more information.

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