Foundation hopes new water feature makes a splash with kids

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 25, 2013

 This rendering shows what a new splash pad at Osius Park is expected to look like. The nonprofit Grosse Pointe Shores Improvement Foundation is paying for the project, which is expected to get underway this fall and be ready for use next summer.

This rendering shows what a new splash pad at Osius Park is expected to look like. The nonprofit Grosse Pointe Shores Improvement Foundation is paying for the project, which is expected to get underway this fall and be ready for use next summer.

Image courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Shores Improvement Foundation


GROSSE POINTE SHORES — The Grosse Pointe Shores Improvement Foundation is adding a “cool” new feature to Osius Park.

The Shores is the only Grosse Pointe without a splash pad, so the GPSIF intends to raise the $162,000 needed to add the colorful water feature — with sprinkling and fountain-like elements that kids and adults can dash through. GPSIF Vice President Karl Kratz and GPSIF President Susan Walton Dickinson unveiled the plans at a June 18 City Council meeting. Kratz said the foundation already has about half of the funds available, and it plans to host fundraising events in the coming months to raise the rest.

“This would be something new and inventive for our community,” Kratz said.

Kratz and Walton said the splash pad would be located near the pool’s diving area, in what is currently an unused grassy area. They said this project isn’t displacing any existing park features, and a pool for tots would remain in operation as long as park visitors continued to use it.

The city’s Park and Harbor Committee already approved the proposal, and this has been in the planning stages for the last two years, Kratz said. He said the GPSIF benefited from talking to other nearby park officials about their splash pads, learning what works best. As a result, Kratz said the Shores splash pad would have a maintenance-free concrete pad, not a rubber one.

City Council member Daniel Schulte, the council liaison on the Park and Harbor Committee, said the splash pad would be great for children.

“They’re pretty lucky to be getting this. … I think it’s a great idea,” he said.

Noting that they’ve “learned the hard way” that new construction can be unpredictable, Schulte suggested getting a longer warranty on the splash pad, even if it means an additional cost. The regular warranty is for a year.

Kratz said an extended warranty was a “great idea,” and he said they’d look into how much that might cost.

City Council member Robert Gesell asked what, if any, expenses the city might be anticipating related to this project.

“I’d like to know what those numbers are because we are running a tight budget,” he said.

The city will be incurring some costs, including running a water and sewer line to the splash pad, putting in some electrical service and fencing it in, City Manager Mark Wollenweber said. They might also need to install some brick pavers around it, he said. He said they’d be getting bids for the work, which wouldn’t be done until next spring. These aspects of the project are expected to cost about $25,000, Wollenweber said.

The splash pad will be using clean city water, not recycled water, as is used in some splash pads. Wollenweber said there’s “significant added expense” to install equipment to recycle the water, and there are potential sanitary issues.

“It’s a very healthy atmosphere for all,” Kratz said of using fresh water. They also won’t need to add chemicals to the water, he said.

As to the cost for additional city water, officials said it wouldn’t be more than $20,000-$22,000 annually, and that would be at full usage, Kratz said.

Previous GPSIF projects have included the Schroeder Field House and, at Osius Park, the pavilion, playscape and walkway, Kratz said. All of these projects were completed on time and on budget, he said.

All the same, City Council member Bruce Bisballe asked that the city serve as the project manager and that the city attorney review the contract to make sure that the contractor follows city regulations and has the proper insurance. Kratz said that would be fine, noting that projects like this have “always been a team effort.”

Vortex Midwest — which is based in Williamston, Mich. — is undertaking the project. City officials said this company — whose corporate headquarters are in Quebec — is the industry leader in splash pads.

The foundation hopes to get started on underground elements this fall, Kratz said. At press time, they were tentatively scheduled to break ground Sept. 10. The rest of the work would be completed in spring 2014, with plans to have the splash pad up and running around the time the park opens for the summer season over the Memorial Day weekend.

Mayor Ted Kedzierski said he expected the council would again be looking at the project and any costs to the city at its July 16 meeting. The final design and colors are expected to be approved in August, he said.

“We’re adding enhancements to the park, which we said we were going to do,” Kedzierski said. “It’s a great concept.”

To contribute or for more information about the GPSIF, click on the foundation’s tab on