Splash pad reopens, JC Park gains grant for sidewalks

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Be like water

The Splash Pad at Jaycee Park fired up for a test run, and shortly kids were taking advantage of the cool activity on the hot day. J.P. Plutt photo

Agenda items

An $80,000 grant landed by Friends of Jaycee Park will replace sidewalks and remove the trees growing into power lines along Reeder Street. J.P. Plutt photo

The splash pad at Jaycee Park began raining water again on frolicking children Monday.

And the park’s rainmaking fundraising efforts brought another cloudburst of cash to help fund further improvements to the popular downtown park.

“We let it run all day and checked it a little while ago,” Mayor Mike Klakken told the Dillon Tribune late Monday afternoon after an extended test run on the splash pad, which has undergone multiple repairs in recent weeks.

“And we haven’t lost any water. So we’ve opened it up for the kids to go in and play,” continued Klakken of the Dillon water park that lost all of the water within hours of its 2020 opening on June 1, causing it to be shut down for almost three weeks of inspections and repairs. “I think it’s good to go.”

Even before the splash pad reopened Monday, Jaycee Park got some good news with the recent announcement that the park had attracted another grant to enhance some of the park’s other facilities.

“We are excited for sidewalk project,” said Friends of Jaycee Park’s RayAnn Sutton on the $80,000 grant she helped gain to help bankroll the revamping of the park’s sidewalk system.

“I look at grants every day,” said Sutton, who has spearheaded the fundraising efforts that have over the past two years brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars for the extreme makeover of the downtown park in Dillon.

“For a grant, this one took a little longer than usual,” said Sutton of the grant of federal funds through Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), the state agency she said kept in touch with her throughout what turned out to be a multi-year process.“They have been very pleasant,” said Sutton of interacting with FWP in the long prolonged effort to gain the $80,000 Land and Water Conservation grant, the funds from which will go toward repairing the park’s existing sidewalks next spring.

In addition, the monies will also help with the creation of a new sidewalk to the park’s bathroom facility that was installed as part of the Jaycee Park Renovation Project that also added a splash pad, a new playground and an amphitheater to the park over the past two years.

Sutton said the group has already raised the grant’s required matching funds for the sidewalks project through donations by community members.

“It should make our park just a little bit more special,” said Sutton,

The splash pad’s reopening on Monday came after weeks of efforts to repair the facility following its sudden shutdown three weeks earlier, just hours after it opened for 2020.

The latest repair work centered on a problem with the pipes that provide the water sprayed onto the splash pad’s slides, according to the mayor.

“We found another pipe busted, but we were able to temporarily plug it. It probably wouldn’t make it through next winter the way we did it, but now it should make it at least through this summer,” said Klakken,

“It should be fine until the fall when we dig it up and do a permanent fix on it.”

The latest repair came atop repairs performed the previous week by Friends of Jaycee Park President

Jim Valach, Premier Plumbing’s Jason Mancoronal, City of Dillon Parks Supervisor Nick Gutcheck and Bridger Creek Development’s Jared Payne on an approximately eight-foot crack in a pipe leading from the facility’s surface drains to its underground recycling tanks. The water park’s water rapidly leaked through that large break, leaving the splash pad dry within hours of its reopening on June 1.

“There may be some more little leaks but they are not bad leaks,” said Klakken, noting Monday’s stable supply of water re-circulating through the splash pad.

“We still have some work to do on it, but we want to let the kids use it for the summer, then go back in the fall after it gets shut down for the year and do some more work on it.”