Kiwanians overcome torrential rains, challenging budget to open a fun-filled water playground in Ohio.
Story by Julie Saetre • Photos by Tom Morris
No one in the Kiwanis Club of Delphos, Ohio, was surprised when the forecast called for rain the July evening of their latest project’s grand opening. After all, Mother Nature seemed to take the intent of the club’s community Splash Pad literally throughout the weeks of its construction, repeatedly dumping downpours on the city.
“We had too many obstacles to lift that came out of Mother Nature that caused issues of tanks floating and pipes floating,” says Kiwanian Jamey Wisher, the Splash Pad project manager. “Anything that could go wrong pretty much went wrong.”
But club members persevered, and today the nearly 4,000-square-foot Splash Pad cools off guests of all ages, thanks to 25 interactive water features. The highlight: a Kiwanis-logo-adorned, 55-gallon splash bucket. The Splash Pad allows no standing water and offers zero-barrier access, so those living with disabilities can join in the fun.
When the club began fundraising efforts in September 2015, members hoped to raise US$350,000. The club covered part of the costs through proceeds from annual projects. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources provided a grant, while local businesses and individuals stepped up as well.
“We knew that we couldn’t tackle this kind of money without the full support of the community and the businesses,” says club President Mark Miller.
By the Splash Pad’s debut, when funds raised were combined with donated labor from Kiwanians and contractors, the park’s total worth had soared to more than $500,000.
The generosity enabled club members to include a key environmental component: a 3,000-gallon water recycling system that will save hundreds of gallons of water each day.
The Kiwanians did more than raise funds, however. They devoted thousands of service hours to building the play area.
“We can all add things to our résumés now,” Wisher says.
Adds Miller, laughing, “And everybody kept their fingers.”
This story originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Kiwanis magazine.