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Mayor promises splash pad 'going to happen'

'Let's not downsize it or make it smaller. Let's build it right.' - Mayor Christian Provenzano
Two city councillors will ask next month that the city consider moving the project to Clergue Park

The City of Sault Ste. Marie's Canada 150 legacy project won't be built in 2017, but Mayor Christian Provenzano is promising local kids will get a splash pad and it will be a good one.

"This is a project I'm confident we're going to get done. We're going to get there. We're going to build this," the mayor told tonight's meeting of City Council

"Let's not downsize it or make it smaller. Let's build it right. Let's make it a great asset for the kids in our community to use," Provenzano said.

"We've got a year and a half left. We've got plenty of time. I don't see the need to rush this."

"We'll come up with something and we'll build a great splash pad in 2018 for our community."

Provenzano made the remarks after councillors received a report from city staff that fund-raising for the $575,000 project at Bellevue Park had fallen short by $515,000.

Ward 5 Councillor Marchy Bruni also wants the splash pad to be done right.

"Let's wait for 2018," Bruni said. "Let's build a proper splash pad. Let's not be Mickey Mouse here."

"Whenever we do something, we always try to do it on the cheapest end possible. That always comes back and haunts us."

Ward 3 Councillors Matthew Shoemaker and Judy Hupponen and Ward 1 Councillor Paul Christian all urged city staff to consider all possible sources of funding, including diverting proceeds from the sale of surplus property to the splash pad.

Ward 4 Councillor Rick Niro asked where, in the range of splash pad project costs, the city's $575,000 proposal stood.

Virginia McLeod, the city's manager of recreation and culture, replied that small splash pads cost between  $250,000 and $400,000, plus cost of servicing and any adjoining buildings.

Sault Ste. Marie's project is slightly more than a bottom-end project, McLeod said.

The splash pad committee has been looking at cutting costs by possibly reducing the size of its attached building.

Other fund-raising opportunities are also being explored, McLeod said.

Meanwhile, Ward 5 Councillor Frank Fata and Ward 2's Sandra Hollingsworth are pushing for a possible relocation of the project to Clergue Park from its proposed Bellevue Park site.

The two councillors served notice tonight that they'll ask at the July 17 City Council meeting that the Downtown Association be given an opportunity to explain why the splash pad should be closer to the city centre.