ROME TOWNSHIP — A grant was awarded to cover a portion of the first splash pad in Ashtabula County to be located in the heart of the township.
The township received a $25,256 grant from the Robert S. Morrison Foundation to advance the development of the splash pad in Ashtabula County, according to a press release from the Valley Community Growth Connection. The grant covers about 30 percent of total project costs.
Splash pads consist of a flat surface with various sprinklers and colorful, playful devices that spray water on people during the summer months. This splash pad is slated for a piece of ground at the intersection of U.S. Route 6 and state Route 45. The closest existing splash pads are located at parks in Lake, Trumbull and Geauga counties.
“This grant will help the building of a multigenerational mobility accessible Splash Pad,” the press release states. “Upon its completion this project will provide social, emotional and physical recreational needs for people of all ages and abilities.”
Joanne Bevacqua, vice president of the Valley Community Growth Connection, said the splash pad would be located on the southeast corner of the intersection in between the baseball fields and playground. There is an existing Aqua Ohio water line with a township tap in point that runs near the area, she said.
Bevacqua said township trustees have been supportive of the idea and the Growth Connection plans to continue fundraising efforts with a goal of having the splash pad up and running by the summer of 2020.
The idea to bring a splash pad to the community came after seeing the success Middlefield had in building one, and realizing that a large number of people from the Grand Valley area utilize the Middlefield splash pad, she said. Bringing a splash pad to Rome Township in south county would help keep the community together in the area for something fun to do with children and the elderly in the summer months, she said.
The splash pad would be handicap accessible and constructed on a 40 by 40 foot area with a slip-resistant surface, Bevacqua said.
“It would be nice if we can get this closer to home,” she said. “We need to keep families in the area because the exit from the county is noticeable. We want something fun to encourage families to stay in the area.”
Rome Township Trustee Chairman Eric Eland said the township is very grateful for the grant from the Robert S. Morrison Foundation.
“We have been supportive of this project from the beginning because there aren’t a lot of activities, or money being put into projects, in the southern part of the county,” Eland said. “There aren’t a lot of things for kids to do.”
The township is hoping to approach Aqua Ohio in regards to some kind of sponsorship for the project and operations, Eland said. In the meantime, the plan is for the Growth Connection to continue fundraising efforts for maintenance and operations costs in the future, Eland said.
Should the Growth Connection ever fold or find itself unable to fund costs, Eland said the township would have to find another way to fund operational costs because the township is limited in funds for parks.