Oregon Splash Pad Rendering

The Oregon-Brooklyn Optimists call for further support and donations from the community to build the rendered Splash Pad within their village.

The Oregon Village Board passed a resolution in support of the Oregon Brooklyn-Optimist Club’s plan for a Splash Pad at the community pool at their June 6 meeting. Margaret Straub, a leader of the group, said the official declaration may be the push needed for final fundraising efforts.

Previous cost estimates put the project at around $970,000. After discussion with numerous entities like the Oregon Youth Center and School District in 2015, the local Optimist club decided to take charge of planning for the construction of the outdoor water space. However, they ran into issues raising the necessary funds due to a number of factors including inexperience, the COVID-19 pandemic and abandonment by a professional fundraising contractor. Straub noted that community members began to doubt the club’s efforts and they ultimately came to a standstill.

“We tried to get as many people that we potentially could to get involved in the project,” Straub said. “We're not professionals by any stretch of the imagination; we're sort of doing it as a grassroots project.”

They made considerable leeway with the hired fundraiser: Kopke’s Greenhouse and Gunderson Funeral Home both donated $25,000, and the Madison Foundation awarded the project a $30,000 grant.

Still, the proposed features—including an environmentally- and financially-friendly water circulation system—required further funding. To continue to tackle the problem, Straub and other members applied to a $400,000 federal grant through the DNR, which they will find out about in the fall. The grant application asked for specific design and planning details that Straub was also able to bring before the Village Board when she asked for their public support again.

“We decided to approach the village board, to actually ask them to verbalize their support for the Splash Pad project because we honestly believe that if the board says… [they] support this project, maybe we can get other people to be involved in the project or be interested in donating to it,” she explained.

The Board passed the resolution of support after learning about the details of the activity area. The project includes three exclusive areas for toddlers, younger children and middle and high school-aged children. Additionally, a lounge for parents and guardians will provide chaise seating, picnic tables, shade and planters, Straub said.

Straub also emphasized the solar panels that will power the Splash Pad throughout the summer if they are able to raise enough money. Any energy generated during the winter will go back to the school district.

Regardless of whether or not the grant is awarded to them, the Oregon-Brooklyn Optimist Club called for support and further donations.

“Deb [Bossingham, the former director of the Oregon Pool] and I are not going to let this project die,” Straub said. “We will continue to work on this project with fundraising until we can get it built. We are both very much committed to this project… This is something that we have worked really hard on and we are going to continue to work hard on.”

Contact reporter Alisyn Amant at aamant@wisconsinmediagroup.com.

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