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September 13, 2013

County officials pushing forward on Sportsman Lake splash pad project

Nearly a year after being awarded a $50,000 state grant to help fund the construction of a public splash pad at Sportsman Lake Park, Cullman County officials are hoping to soon put the 2,000-square-foot project out to bid.

The splash pad will feature 10-to-12 water sprays that will provide a place for children and families to cool off on hot days. The water feature will be fully accessible to people with disabilities. Developed around Sportsman Lake, the park just off U.S. Highway 31 North features a playground, picnic areas, fishing, a miniature golf course, walking trails and a mini-train that takes passengers around the lake.

CDG Engineering is in charge of drawing up plans for the project. The county is waiting on the firm to finish its work so it can put the splash pad project out to bid. Officials are aiming to get construction started later this year so the splash pad can be ready to use when the warm weather returns next spring, said Doug Davenport, Cullman County Parks and Recreation manager.

“It will take three to five months to complete once work gets started,” he said. “It will have benches around it for families, and all the sprayers will be motion-activated and have timers.”

When the county was awarded the $50,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant last October through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), the original cost of the project was estimated to be $135,000. But since almost a year has gone by, the estimated costs of materials has increased the total cost to as much as $160,000.

The grant requires a 50-50 match, so the county must provide $50,00 in matching funds or in-kind work. In June, the county commission authorized Chairman Kenneth Walker to sign a revised agreement with CDG Engineering for its engineering services on the splash pad.

Davenport said the Cullman County Economic Development office is currently working toward getting another $25,000 grant to put toward the project.

“It will be great for the park because it will be free to anyone to use,” he said. “Once the construction is finished, we’re planning to put a fence up around the splash pad and the playground to make it safe for kids with the traffic coming in and out of the park.”

Tiffeny Owens can be reached email at towens@cullmantimes.com or by phone at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.

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