Mortenson Construction offers to build aquatic play structure as a thank you to the community for contract
Living in a Newberg apartment with no air conditioning, the summer of 2013 was simply too hot for Beth Koschmann and her children.
Finding no place in town where she could even dip her toes in water, Koschmann went to places in Wilsonville, Sherwood and McMinnville that have either public fountains or splash pads, the latter being play areas with fully automated jets of water with no standing water so that lifeguards are not needed.
I was just thinking its hot enough here that I think we could definitely have a splash pad and it would be great, Koschmann said.
That prompted Koschmann to create an online petition in February that she hoped would help convince the Chehalem Park and Recreation District to build one.
It was therefore the most pleasant of surprises when she learned just a few weeks later that somebody wanted to not only build Newberg a splash pad, but to pretty much pay for it too.
Completely unaware of Koschmanns push for public support, Mortenson Construction had approached the CPRD and the city of Newberg about installing a splash pad as a thank-you project for awarding it a $1.8 million contract to expand the Newberg Wastewater Treatment Plant.
By the time Koschmann and Mortenson representative Jerrid Tompkins presented to the CPRD board on Feb. 26, the online petition (which can be found at ipetitions.com/petition/Newberg-splash-pad) had gathered 186 names.
It was exciting for both of us, I think, Koschmann said. It was just coincidence on the timing, that we had started this three weeks ago and we could be there when he was presenting it.
Tompkins told the board that it is standard practice at Mortenson to do a small project to give back to the communities in which it works and in this case, is willing to donate about $150,000 in materials and labor for a splash pad that would be located at Rotary Centennial Park adjacent to the Chehalem Cultural Center.
A representative of Newberg-based Splash Pads to Go also expressed interest in contributing to the project at the meeting, at which the board approved a measure directing staff to pursue the project.
Its always encouraging when theres people on the ground plus contractors who are willing to put their own personal interest in it to make it happen, CPRD public information coordinator Kat Ricker said. Weve had a lot of discussion and people in the community have come to the board previously and requested splash pads, so theres been interest in it for a while.
Tompkins then attended a Newberg City Council meeting March 3 and is now working with city staff to design and permit the project in a way that will cost the city, and CPRD, as little money as possible to complete.
We know thats a huge benefit for the community, so the city would like to partner with CPRD and the cultural center, said city councilor Bart Rierson, who was also recently appointed to the CPRD board. Its like the living room for the whole civic corridor and I think it would be a great addition to the city.
The initial estimate for the fees and system development charges was $13,000, but one way the city may do that is by using the cultural centers existing water meter instead of installing a new one.
Another would be to pump water that the cultural center already purchases for irrigation into a cistern, which would feed the splash pad and then be used to water the grounds.
Rierson also lauded the grassroots effort led by Koschmann, whose petition now includes 271 signatures after setting an initial goal of 100.
The overwhelming support they got was over a very short period of time, Rierson said. These are just regular people, theyre not politicians, and the way that stuff gets done here with community support is one of the great things about this community.