ST. MARYS — Four years ago teacher Kristy Guy’s fourth-graders got involved in a project to build a splash pad in St. Marys. The students at West Intermediate School are now getting ready to enter the eighth grade and on Monday saw all of their hard work pay off.
The Mill Park Splash Pad was dedicated in front of the students and local and state dignitaries.
“We’ve been working with the city all four years to continue the development of the splash pad as a collaboration, a project-based learning activity,” Guy said. “It started as just a letter to our state officials and local officials about government issues, not really particularly a splash pad, necessarily. Some chose splash pads, some chose seat belts in school buses. The government officials replied to us and said we’d like you to come up to a meeting and we said sure and our kids said We want to do this really bad and it just has gone on from there.”
The students say they’ve learned a lot from the experience.
“I’ve learned how much money it costs to build a splash pad,” said Camden Rothe. “I never knew it’d be so much money and it’s pretty cool — like, how do you get that money and see how hard you have to work?”
“Kids our age can influence events and the city and the community,” said Lizzy Good. “It’s very exciting because we’ve worked so hard on this and I’m really happy.”
The total project came in at $330,000 with $100,000 coming in from the state thanks to Craig Riedel, 82nd District State Representative.
“The city came to me, they asked this for help and we put it into our capital budget,” Riedel said.
He says he was inspired by the effort.
“It’s really what democracy is really all about and for these young people to start at this early age, to put together an organized effort, and to reach out to me personally and asked for my support. It says a lot about them. It says a lot about the leaders and the parents in this community,” Riedel said.
St. Marys Mayor Patrick McGowan says the city had been considering constructing a splash pad but lacked a push, which they got from the kids.
“The kids came forward and we said now may be the time to do this and they showed so much enthusiasm. They were deeply involved in the project — almost all aspects of it and they were enthused, and we thought this would be a good learning experience for them,” McGowan said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409