Civic League splash requires a mad dash

Saturday, March 3, 2012

If getting there is truly half the fun, Greencastle Civic League members ought to have a ball by the time all the pieces of their splash park project fall into place.

Consider Thursday's excitement.

Civic League members faced a 5 p.m. deadline for two separate grant applications -- one locally with the Putnam County Community Foundation and the other through the PNC Foundation at the Hyatt in downtown Indianapolis.

"It felt like an episode of 'The Amazing Race,'" Civic League member Suzanne Masten told the Greencastle Park Board Thursday night as she detailed her mad dash to Indianapolis to turn in the PNC application.

At one point, as the clock ticked toward 5 p.m., Masten was stopped dead in her tracks in traffic gridlock on Interstate 70.

"I thought, 'Oh, no, we're not going to make it,'" she said, relating how she hurriedly called the PNC office, "to tell them 'I'm stopped in traffic, literally doing zero miles per hour.'"

Masten still had to get off I-70, navigate the maze of traffic that is downtown Indy around 5 p.m., and hustle the grant application to PNC offices in the Hyatt at 101 W. Washington St.

"They told me I could go ahead and leave it (the application packet) with the security guard," Masten said.

But after all she had gone through to get the application there at 4:58 p.m. -- two minutes ahead of deadline -- she certainly wasn't leaving it on a security guard's desk.

Not when a significant piece of funding for the estimated $250,000 spray park/splash park project might be at stake.

Thankfully, Masten had been in the Hyatt building recently to attend a function with her husband Todd and his company.

"It's probably the one building in downtown Indianapolis that I know (how to get around in)," she laughed, relieved that the application deadline was met as she hand-delivered it to a PNC official.

"So it was an exciting day for the splash park project," Masten simplified,

The Civic League is expected to hear a decision on its application by March 19, she said.

The Putnam County Community Foundation, meanwhile, will award its grants by May 1.

Monetary figures on both those grant applications remain undisclosed at this time.

The Civic League's "Splash Pad" project, which was announced last summer, has a target date of summer 2013 for being operational.

Masten said the organization envisions a "soft opening" for the spray park when the pool season starts on Memorial Day 2013 with a grand opening anticipated for the Fourth of July 2013.

Meanwhile, although public fundraising for the project has not officially kicked off, the Civic League has already taken in $15,000 in private "Pacesetter" donations.

"The funding plan is to push, push, push for grants right now, before we go the public," Masten told the Park Board.

"So keep your fingers crossed and hope the grant gods shine on Greencastle."

The Park Board and the Civic League are still working toward a formal "letter of understanding" between the two entities concerning various aspects of the spray park.

Masten suggested it be a simple document that defines the role of each party.

"We want to raise the money and give it (the Splash Pad) to the community," she explained. "We don't want to run it. We don't want to do the maintenance on it, so the role of each of us should be clearly defined."

The Civic League has previously said it would create an endowment to provide continued funding for maintenance and upkeep of the Splash Pad, which is expected to become a part of the Greencastle Aquatic Center site (replacing the outdated baby pool).

The Park Board has empowered Board President John Hennette and Park Director Rod Weinschenk to negotiate and sign the letter on behalf of the park.

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