PARRSBORO - The campaign for a sponge park and splash pad in Parrsboro is moving ahead without help from the Aviva Community Fund.
The campaign was unsuccessful in the online voting contest, although organizers Frank Hartman and Lisa Ward said they were encouraged enough by the experience to continue on, with hopes of having a facility in place by spring of next year.
"We're going to form a committee, and we're all going to come up with some fundraising ideas and search out some grants in order to move forward with it," said Ward.
The $80,000-85,000 project applied for in the Aviva Community Fund was for a sponge park and splash pad that would have been in place for the spring or summer of 2012. That will not happen now, according to Ward, because of the large amount of money required, and the fact that the deadline has passed for many grant applications.
Although they had hoped to win the Aviva campaign, Hartman said they were not defeated.
"We learned there is a lot of support out there, and there is interest in having a sponge park here in Parrsboro," he said. "It was refreshing to know, because, when we first started out, we didn't know what response we would get or what kind of community interest we would get."
The long range plan would see the sponge park and splash pad expanded to a larger outdoor recreation area that would include hiking trails, a picnic area and an outdoor stage, according to Ward. Although a site has yet to be finalized, she said the former Scott mill site is the most logical choice.
"The aboiteau is right there, and when it gets fixed, we could have paddle boats and a whole recreation spot," said Ward, who is also a town councillor. "When we get to the point where we've raised the money for a sponge park and splash pad, the mayor and council will look at the option of putting it on the Scott property included with the larger plan of a whole recreation area."
The former Scott property has long been eyed by the town as a possible location for a future sewage treatment, but Ward said there is enough room for both sewage treatment and recreation on the property.
Those interested in getting involved in the project can contact Hartman or Ward by email, Facebook or telephone.
"We're really excited about the success we did have and the interest we're pretty sure we have within the community," said Hartman. "We're looking forward to moving ahead and seeing what we can do, and hopefully having a sponge park here by the spring of next year."