Splash park completion postponed due to funding

The multi-million dollar Super Splash Park that was supposed to be the answer to kids prayers is turning into a problem after Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner pulled the plug on funding.

Memorial Day weekend was supposed to be the grand opening for the Carbondale splash park, but the only water in the pool there is from rain.

“It was really a bitter pill to have to stop working on this because we were planning on opening this up this week,” Carbondale Park District board member Rick Erickson said.

Erickson will have to wait a little longer to dive into the pool, but that’s not why he’s upset that funding issues stopped construction.

“The ones it really hurts are the kids who were really looking forward to this,” Erickson said. “The whole idea of stopping on this doesn’t make any sense to us.”

Carbondale Parks Director Kathy Renfroe says she hasn’t stopped looking for help in Springfield and, more recently, Washington ,D.C., and she’s not alone.

“It’s been a great lesson in civics for our youth,” Renfroe said. “They are writing the governor, producing videos. The kids in Carbondale all know the governor by name.”

With nearly 80 percent of the facility complete, Erickson is confident construction will resume in July after lawmakers approve a state budget.

“We’ve gotten mixed signals, but basically we’ve been told we will get the money,” Erickson said.

Once funding becomes available, crews think it should take about 70 days to complete the structure, which would push opening day back until September when it may be too cold for people to swim.

The Carbondale Park District is still accepting donations to try and get construction back on track.

If you are interested in getting involved in the Super Splash Park project, click here.

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