Breaking ground for splash pad
Swan Park construction underway in Waupaca
By James Card
After years of planning, the construction of the splash pad at Swan Park is underway.
People involved with the project tossed the first few shovels of dirt during a rainy groundbreaking ceremony Monday, Sept. 12.
Parked nearby was a Faulks Brothers excavator ready to move dirt by the ton.
The majority of the construction will occur this fall and the goal is to have a grand opening on Memorial Day weekend next year.
A fence will be erected around the construction area and the playground equipment will be removed. Some of it is outdated and meet requirements of the American Disabilities Act.
The equipment, playground and splash pad will be inclusive to all.
There are numerous stumps to be pulled – many large white pines had to be removed for the project’s footprint. A concrete plaza will be poured and some areas will have rubberized surfaces.
A prefab restroom/changing room will be put up late this fall or by next spring and three shaded picnic tables will be installed.
The fun stuff: waterworks and interactive features that will hose down kids will be connected in the spring. The equipment will be supplied by Vortex, a Canadian company that has installed 8,000 water park play areas in 50 countries.
The splash pad will have space for teens to play around and safe spots for toddlers.
The Rettler Corporation is the civil engineering firm overseeing the project and Faulks Brothers will be the main contractors for developing the site.
Project manager John Kneer said that the splash pad will look similar to one they recently finished in Plover at Lake Pacawa Park.
The project cost $1.5 million. Major donors were Community First Credit Union, Farmer’s State Bank, Theda Care, the Waupaca Foundry, Peterson Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, Faulks Brothers and Chris and Vic Anthony.
The city of Waupaca put $75,000 towards the prject and the Wisconsin DNR funded $334,000.
“This is the park that people brag about. I brag about all of our parks but this one they brag about the most in our community. It’s great that we have another project out here that has to do with donations—that are not only coming from the city of Waupaca but the Wisconsin DNR and many other contributors that are here today,” said Mayor Brian Smith.
Laura Colbert, director of Parks and Recreation, thanked the donors and Friends of Waupaca Parks.
She pointed out Andrew Whitman who was present at the ceremony. Whitman is the former Waupaca Parks & Recreation director and now is director of the Central Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in King.
During his time overseeing the city’s parks, Whitman had the vision for a splash pad and devoted much time and effort to move the project forward.