More time for splash pad?

The Waterloo Park District could be getting more time to put together its long-awaited splash pad thanks to a possible extension on a state grant for the project.

Waterloo Park Board President Shelby Mathes said an extension request seems likely for the project’s $400,000 Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

While the park district has already received $200,000 of this grant, it would currently only be able to keep the full grant by making substantial progress on the splash pad before a June 2022 deadline. 

The year-long extension would put the new deadline for the grant at June 20, 2024.

Mathes credited Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith and State Rep. David Friess (R-Red Bud) for their efforts in pushing ahead this extension request, which stated the park district has “experienced multiple delays, including delays related to COVID.”

Friess confirmed his involvement late last week. 

He said Smith contacted him to request assistance for the project, which has run into numerous issues.

“The mayor reached out to me,” Friess said. “He mentioned that they needed an extension … They had problems getting some of the details worked out because of the delays related to COVID, some other issues, and they just needed an extension on the OSLAD grant.”

While neither Friess nor Mathes had received official confirmation the extension had been granted, both expressed hope that approval would come soon.

“It’s pending their approval, but it’s so favorable that it’ll probably be done, otherwise they wouldn’t have offered it,” Mathes said.

The splash pad project at Zimmer Park off Rogers Street originally began in 2019 with a projected budget of roughly $800,000 that has since grown to $1.8 million due to increased cost of materials and labor caused by the COVID pandemic.

The OSLAD grant has been one of the larger sources of funding for the project alongside assistance from the Waterloo City Council via the city’s video gambling tax revenue.

Various aspects of the splash pad, including details concerning the final design of the project, were discussed at last month’s park board meeting.

More splash pad discussions are anticipated at this week’s park board meeting Wednesday evening.

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Andrew Unverferth

HTC web