Readlyn Makes a Splash for Local Kids
Bremer County Community Foundation
February 28, 2017
Providing amenities for young families in rural Iowa is part of keeping communities vibrant and growing. When the City of Readlyn saw kids from their community traveling to other nearby towns for recreational opportunities, Mayor Dan Wedemeier took note and then took action.
Wedemeier had seen the success of a new splash pad, an outdoor water playground, in Denver, Iowa and wanted to see the children in his community have access to the same summertime entertainment. Currently, Readlyn’s youth have the advantage of local basketball, tennis and sand volleyball courts, but have to be shuttled to Fairbank for near access to a swimming pool. A splash pad would provide an opportunity for the kids to stay local while escaping the heat. Knowing Readlyn was limited in terms of these outdoor activities, Wedemeier began to inquire into how a splash pad would benefit Readlyn citizens.
Wedemeier brought his research to the city council and it wasn’t long before the project was underway. The city set aside $130,00 to pay for the splash pad however, the amount fell short of estimated installation costs. “The council wanted to stay committed to the $130,00 so we decided to fundraise from private donations or funds for the rest,” said Mayor Wedemeier.
Readlyn mailed fundraising cards to residents and used the town’s annual Grump Days celebration as a big push to reach out to those who would be willing to lend a hand to the new project. Readlyn residents raised $10,600 which was fully matched by RTC Communications in Readlyn.
In addition to their community efforts, the City of Readlyn applied for grant money from the Readlyn Community Fund and the Bremer County Community Foundation. The two Community Foundations awarded a total of $7,750 for the splash pad installment.
“The Community Foundations are great. When we put together budgets and one of our departments wants something extra, right away they are encouraged to see if they can get a grant. Our fire department, police department, historical society and library have all applied,” said Wedemeier.
Initially, the city had planned to install the splash pad in two phases to allow time for them to gather funds. However, since they had high support from the community, $42,500 in total was raised, the city decided to move forward with both phases right away.
Construction began September 1, and is now nearly complete, creating excitement for summer to roll back around. The Splash Pad is installed at the Ball Park in the place of two sand volleyball courts, which have the possibility of being relocated. The park is home to two shelters, one on the west and one on the east of the splash pad, which will provide shade and a base for families to gather while enjoying the park.
“It’s going to be an awesome tool for our young kids in town. It seems like we are getting a lot of young people with children,” said Wedemeier. “Our schools are reflecting that. The numbers for preschool are up – in both public and parochial.”
For the City of Readlyn and its Mayor, the splash pad project is more than a place to play. It shows what a community can do when they come together. It exemplifies what it takes to build a thriving community today and for future generations.
“It is amazing the group we have in this area – they always come together and help out. When we ask for something, a bunch of people always step up to the plate whether they need to give money or do work or whatever it takes,” said Wedemeier.
The Readlyn Community Fund and Bremer County Community Foundation are proud to support community efforts that bring to life new projects aimed at creating places for people to live, work and, of course, play.