As temperatures in the region approached the lower 80s for one of the first times this spring, the weather appeared to cooperate with the groundbreaking ceremony for Milton’s new splash park.
City leaders grabbed gold-painted shovels and turned over a little dirt before a crowd of residents of all ages to mark the beginning of the construction process. The $344,000 splash park, located in South Goodrich Park at the corner of Parkview Drive and East High Street, is expected to be completed by Aug. 1.
“This has been an incredible journey for us to get to this day only to be a better day when we actually open it and we see young folks … getting to enjoy this great new community asset,” said Milton City Administrator Jerry Schuetz.
The splash park is part of the Goodrich Square redevelopment plan, which was adopted in 2010 to prepare Milton for the impact of the new State Highway 26 bypass.
Funding for the splash park will be provided through a combination of fundraising and revenue from Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) District 8. About $51,000 has been raised through donations so far.
On April 3, the Milton City Council awarded the construction work for the splash park to Advanced Building Corporation of Verona for $202,275. It will feature 10 interactive water features on a concrete pad, with the materials costing $115,000.
During a brief presentation before the ceremonial groundbreaking, Schuetz thanked members of the Goodrich Square Steering Committee for their work in developing the plans for the splash park, as well as the Milton City Council, the community development authority and everybody who donated to the project.
“The list is limitless in this two-year journey that has gotten us to this point today,” Schuetz said.
Milton Mayor Brett Frazier said the Goodrich Square master plan identified more than $4 million in potential improvements to make the area a center of commerce and recreation. The splash park, he said, is one of the first steps in implementing some of those improvements.
Schuetz also took a moment to recognize Carter Holtz, a Milton youngster who donated his piggy bank toward the splash park fund.
“Even through all of the trials and tribulations and we had the (fundraising) thermometer there and he thought it wasn’t going up because maybe people didn’t want it to happen, we kept pressing,” Schuetz said. “We kept working to make this project a reality for young people like Carter and others throughout our city to have a park to enjoy for the rest of their lives.
“I think he demonstrates the level of commitment that even our young people have about a project like this to happen in Milton,” he added.