RACINE — Mayor Scott Hill says he is often asked how the small village of Racine accomplishes so much, and his answer is always, “Community support.”
“It isn’t just me, it’s everyone, village employees, city council, Racine Area Community Organization, local people, it is a community effort,” Hill said. “When something needs to be done, everyone gets on board, that’s how we do it, and that’s how we got our Splash Pad.”
Hill said he was speaking to Katheryn Hart in July 2016, and mentioned how nice it would be for the kids if Star Mill Park had a splash pad. Hart was RACO president at the time, and Hill said, “The next thing I knew she handed me $1,000 and said go build that splash pad.”
That money was the first contribution to what was an expensive project, but now that the community was behind it, more support followed.
State Representative Jay Edwards successfully gained approval for $98,000 from the State Capital Improvement Program. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources kicked in $27,000 and Sister Health Foundation contributed $13,000. Meigs County Community Fund, RACO and Home National Bank also supported the project.
Mark Porter Auto and the Chase Roush Foundation donated swings, Dave Neigler built the central electrical box, and Sutton and Letart Townships hauled 460 tons of soil that Hill donated from his farm in Letart Falls.
Laynee Jo Hill was acknowledged for her contribution and received the honor of officially opening the Splash Pad. Laynee had a sincere desire to do something to contribute, and through her bake sale efforts she was able to raise $1,000.
“This tells you about our community,” said Mayor Hill. “A student taking it upon themselves to raise money for a splash park doesn’t happen a lot. This just shows how people feel about Racine.”
The Splash Pad is interactive, encouraging kids to move around to make the water spray, and provides a water environment without the risk of deep water. The design for the Racine pad included a border using bricks taken from sidewalks in the downtown area during past renovations.
“We were able to incorporate a piece of our history with our newest addition to Star Mill Park by using the bricks,” Hill said.
Planned items for the pad include a drinking fountain and USB charging stations, and there is a bench waiting to be installed, but no one noticed what wasn’t there.
Instead, giggles erupted as kids ran onto the pad and water began spraying when Laynee Jo Hill turned on the water to officially open the Splash Pad.
The Racine community agrees it was a worthwhile project for the community that will be enjoyed for many years to come.
Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.