Parents will have a new place to take their kids to cool off in the summer, thanks to a joint effort between Lowell Charter Township and the City of Lowell and with a little help from Impact Church. A splash pad is expected to be added to the North Riverfront Park sometime this year.
“We hope to build it this summer,” says Lowell Charter Township Supervisor Jerry Hale.
It’s anticipated that the project will cost more than $400,000, but no taxpayer dollars are earmarked for its construction. The township has secured a $150,000 Recreation Passport Grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and a generous private donor has agreed to match that amount. Hale hopes a grant from the Lowell Area Community Fund will help cover the remaining cost.
A splash pad has long been a priority for City of Lowell Mayor Mike DeVore. While many in the community would love to see a pool built, the cost for that amenity would be in the millions.
“I don’t see that as realistic for a city our size to fund, maintain and insure,” DeVore says. “But a splash pad would be a great draw for people to our community.”
However, DeVore’s efforts were hampered by a lack of suitable sites within the city limits. “Underground power lines, lack of parking (and) a few other things seemed to come up at every spot,” he notes.
Then, DeVore and Hale discussed the possibility of working together to develop a splash pad that would be maintained jointly by both municipalities.
“I called him and said, I don’t want to steal your thunder, but what about putting it in our new park,” Hale recalls.
The new park he was talking about is the North Grand River Riverfront Park which is located off Bowes Road and behind Walgreens. With pickleball courts, an ice cream stand and a bridge that spans the Grand River, the park has become a popular spot in town.
However, creating a splash pad at the North Riverfront Park wasn’t without its own problems. Most notably, there wasn’t any obvious flat spot to place it. That problem was remedied by a conversation with Ryan Kresge, executive pastor at Impact Church. The church generously agreed to deed over a portion of their property that adjoins the park so that the splash pad could be built there.
Some details still need to be worked out – such as an agreement between the city and township to share the cost of maintenance, not to mention the actual design of the splash pad itself.
“While still in the planning and design stages, this splash pad will be an awesome addition to our area,” DeVore states.
Hale agrees, saying the township is looking at designs in other communities to find the best configuration. While he isn’t sure what it will look like right now, he knows this much at least: “We’re going to have a nice one.”