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Club updates splash park concept
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The Rotary Club of Dawson County has updated the initial concept for its community splash pad at Rock Creek Park.

During a presentation last month, club members outlined plans that include three-dimensional, interactive components with spray features rather than sprinklers that jet fountains of water from the zero-depth splash pad.

As the club's signature project, the initial plans called for the international Rotary emblem as the splash pad's centerpiece, but cost and maintenance forced the group to reconsider.

At an estimated cost of $68,400 for the first phase, the splash pad is the nearly 70-member club's biggest project since forming in 1992.

"This is a splash park for the community. It's Rotary's project, but it's the community's splash park, so we want it to be about the community," said Dawson County Rotary Club President Vernon Smith, who along with incoming presidents Scott Yochum and Brooke Anderson have made the splash park idea a collaborative effort.

Yochum added: "We re-evaluated and realized our customer here is the kids of Dawson County. We want this to be the free, go-to destination, all summer long for our kids."

They have agreed to allocate a portion of the money raised during the club's next three annual golf tournaments to fund the project. The club is also selling commemorative bricks to be placed at the park.

"For the first time, we're not only putting together our golf tournament at Crystal Falls on April 28, but we've also integrated a splash park component in the fundraiser," Yochum said.

"We're allowing people to purchase a permanent collaborative brick for $100 that will be a part of the Rotary Splash Park for many years to come."

As designed, phase two includes signage, lounge chairs and landscaping, while phase three could add a victory garden to use the splash pad's recycled water to grow fruits and vegetables.

While the club overwhelmingly voted to accept the changes and finance the project over three years to move the project at a faster pace, the new concept must still be approved by the park board and county commission.

The club had hoped to have the splash pad ready by Memorial Day, but the changes will likely warrant a later grand opening date.