Turner Park hog roast and 5K event will support splash pad project

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The Turner Park: Fitness for All Ages Committee will hold its fourth annual 5K run/walk, kid’s fun run and hog roast in McGregor this Friday evening, Aug. 31. (NIT file photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The Turner Park: Fitness for All Ages Committee will hold its fourth annual 5K run/walk, kid’s fun run and hog roast in McGregor this Friday evening, Aug. 31.

The hog roast will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Turner Park shelter. Registration for the 5K will also begin at 6 p.m. The kid’s fun run, a 400-meter run around the park’s track, will start at 6:30 p.m., and the 5K will immediately follow. 

“The kids will all get participation prizes for having fun and getting out and exercising,” said Janet Hallberg, head of the Turner Park Committee. 

Adult winners, she added, will receive unique, wood-burned awards created by another committee volunteer, Kathy Stickfort.

“It will just be nice to get everyone together, to eat and sit and talk,” Hallberg said. “The kids can also play on the playground.”

Proceeds from the event will go toward adding a splash pad at Turner Park. The project will be just one in a line of improvements—including new playground equipment and the walking track—that has occurred at the park over the past few years.

While the playground and track were added fairly quickly thanks to generous grants and donations, Hallberg admitted fundraising efforts for the splash pad have gone a bit more slowly.

“We took some time off after the tornado to support the town,” she said. “Now, we’re trying to get back into the swing of things.”

Earlier this month, the committee sponsored a tour of four unique McGregor homes. The fundraiser drew a large crowd and netted $2,290.

Hallberg hopes the hog roast and 5K event will feed off the home tour’s success and garner even more funds for the splash pad.

A splash pad is a recreation area with water features that spray people who walk or run through the space. Hallberg said the committee is still in the planning stages, and has yet to determine how many or which water features McGregor’s splash pad will have. The water features won’t run all the time; just when visitors press a button to turn them on.

“It’s not going to be huge,” Hallberg said. “They all won’t turn on at once, and you can program how they run to keep kids moving around.”

She said the area will be fenced to not only protect kids, but to keep wildlife out. There will also be no standing water.

Although the committee, at one time, considered re-circulating the water, Hallberg said that is no longer feasible, both cost- and maintenance-wise.

Right now, she estimates the project—including the water features, site prep and installation—will cost around $150,000. So far, $22,306 has been raised. 

“It’s a ways away,” Hallberg stated, “but we’re going to work like heck and get as much [funding] as we can.” 

Between fundraisers, donations and grants, she hopes the splash pad might be possible by 2020.

Hallberg said the community has largely been supportive of the idea. Many people who don’t even have kids have donated.

“They just love to see the kids playing at the park and having fun,” she said. 

Turner Park is already one of the city’s most-used spaces, Hallberg said. Kids can often be found playing on the new equipment, and people regularly walk the track. Youth play on the ballfield throughout the summer, while the shelter frequently hosts events. A splash pad will simply add to that.

“We want something fun for the kids to do on hot days. We want to draw families,” she explained. “They can play in the water for awhile, then play on the equipment or walk the track. We want the park to be a place for everyone to have fun. I won’t be surprised to see adults playing in it too.”

Once the splash pad project is complete, Hallberg said the committee can turn toward other improvements at the park, including new bathrooms and a concession stand.

To learn more about the project or this Friday’s event, visit the “Turner Park: Fitness for All Ages” Facebook page.

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