AMA stands for “Ask Michael Anything,” and is a chance for readers to ask reporter Michael V. Hannigan questions about Henderson County. Ask questions through our Facebook Page or our website.
QUESTION: Reader Darlene Magee Gunter asked how close organizers are to raising enough money for the Kiwanis Park Splash Pad in Athens … and it turns out her question was well timed and very important.
SOURCE: Kim Hodges, who is an Athens Chamber of Commerce board member and the go-to person when it comes to splash pad funding.
ANSWER: The short answer is that organizers have raised about $148,000 of the complete project’s estimated cost of $217,000.
But the real story is the project must hit $167,000 by Friday, March 15, for there to be a splash pad for kids to play in this summer.
Splash pads have become a very popular item and the contractor picked out for the Athens project has a waiting list of clients. The firm is holding a spot for Athens, but can’t hold it past March 15.
And it will take $167,000 to break ground. Another $20,000 needs to be raised to get started.
Hodges said that’s how much it will cost to build the actual splash pad. The rest of the project money is for fencing, parking, sidewalks and complying with the all-important Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules so that children in wheelchairs can enjoy the water.
“It will be disheartening to come this far and not be able to have it for this summer,” Hodges said.
The neat thing about the fundraising so far is that so many have become involved. Members of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club, the Athens Leadership Institute (ALI, which is a chamber program), and the city are working together, and as of this morning, 168 business, organizations and individuals have contributed to the project.
Hodges said donations have been as small as $25 and as large as $25,000.
“Our goal is for this to be a community-wide project, and that’s what it has been,” she said.
Actually, the donations have been a small as what the tooth fairy left under one little girl’s pillow.
If you want to help make the splash pad a reality this summer, please call Kim Hodges at First State Bank, 903-676-1923.
If you want some more information about the project, here is the story I wrote when the project was first announced.