Park district asks city for splash pad funds


The Waterloo City Council on Monday night heard from Waterloo Park District Board President Shelby Mathes, who is seeking needed funding for a splash pad planned at Zimmer Park off Rogers Street.

As reported last week, the park district is $500,000 short in funds required to build its long-awaited splash pad due to an increased cost from the initial estimate. 

The splash pad project was once estimated at $800,000, bolstered an Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources totaling $400,000.

But bids revealed last month combined with equipment already purchased by the park district in anticipation of the project put the new total closer to $1.8 million. 

One of the project bidders, Fitzgibbons Contracting of Waterloo, said it would hold its bid for 60 days to allow for the park district to come up with enough funds. That date is Nov. 1.

“We, the park board, feel that this is a worthwhile project for the younger kids in the community with minimal cost to maintain,” Mathes told the city council. “So, we’re asking the finance committee if you guys would consider our request for funds.”

Mathes said he is also speaking to civic organizations and other local groups to ask for funding. 

He said the William Zimmer Family Foundation previously pledged $400,000 toward this cause, but a change in tax laws means such a foundation can’t donate to a taxing entity such as the park district. That $400,000 could be donated to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Mathes said, so he has been in talks with nonprofits to see if “something can be worked out.”

Mathes said the splash pad must be functional by June 2023 or the grant money goes away.

Alderman Jim Trantham pointed out to fellow council members that the Waterloo Park District operates on a yearly budget of about $330,000 to maintain five parks in the city. 

The splash pad funding request will be discussed during an upcoming finance committee meeting.

In other action, Waterloo Public Works Director Tim Birk said the intersection of Moore Street and Columbia Avenue should be reopened to traffic early next week following construction. 

The portion of Moore Street north of that intersection near Gibault Catholic High School will remain closed for the time being for the ongoing Illinois Department of Transportation project, Birk said

The council gave the OK on a final plat for Remlok Phase IV, approved a commercial site plan for The Back Yard Child Care Center’s planned expansion, and approved a sidewalk replacement project on the south side of West Mill Street between Main Street and Church Street with a not to exceed amount of $100,000.

The next meeting of the Waterloo City Council takes place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, at City Hall.

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