Effort to get splash pad continues

They are only asking for a vote.

Efforts to get at least one splash pad for children in Marshalltown continue by local supporters with a nationwide challenge.

After two years of fundraising efforts, Leigh Bauder, Splash 4 Life organizer, said the initiative only raised about $1,000 and the cost for one is about $150,000.

Because everyone in the community seems to be strapped for money, Bauder said the Ultimate Neighborhood Give Back Challenge is a great grant opportunity for the cause.

The Ultimate Neighborhood Give Back Challenge is a nationwide search for people and organizations doing good work in their community, by Ty Pennington, of TV hit “Extreme Makeover Home Edition.”

The grand-prize winner of the challenge will receive $50,000 toward the project and Pennington will spend a day on site helping with the project.

Five runner-ups will receive $10,000.

“The grand prize is what we are shooting for,” Bauder said. “I’m going with a BB gun to an elephant. Pray to God he gives us success here.”

To get to that grand prize, there are two stages, the first is voting.

Anyone with a Facebook account can vote by going to the Splash_4_Life Facebook page, clicking on the photo with a child playing in a splash pad and hitting “vote,” Bauder said.

“Please, please, please, please vote,” Bauder said. “It can be a kid, adult, anybody that has a Facebook page, vote and spread the word.”

The 50 organizations with the most votes will be semifinalists.

From there, the semifinalists will be asked to create a video that shows how the project would impact the community.

“It would be so cool to say this is a community project, we are an All-America City and they’ve got all these other things going on in Marshalltown,” Bauder said.

The deadline to vote is June 9.

The idea of getting splash pads in Marshalltown followed the tragic summer of 2012 when four children drowned in the Iowa River.

Devastated, Bauder and Misty Smith formed an initiative called Splash 4 Life to get splash pads in Marshalltown as a safe alternative to swimming in the river.

Bauder said she would like to get five splash pads. One would be a memorial splash pad and the other four would be placed on the north, east, south and west parts of town, each one honoring the children who died.

“There’s a billion advantages of having a splash pad in Marshalltown,” Bauder said. “It’d be nice to at least have the one memorial.”

Donations to Splash 4 Life can be made by sending checks made out to “Splash 4 Life” to any Wells Fargo location.