On Sept. 12, members of the Peoria community, along with the City of Peoria, Illinois American Water, Peoria Housing Authority and the American Water Charitable Foundation (AWCF), held a ribbon cutting to signify the opening of Peoria GreenSplash, a community splash park. The water feature, located at the northwest corner of the intersection of S. Griswold Street and S. Friedan Street in Peoria, was funded through a $150,000 Building Better Communities grant from AWCF and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).
Mayor Ardis stated, “Peoria GreenSplash is a destination not only for recreation, but also education. This splash pad is truly unique to Peoria.” He continued, “We are also appreciative of the community volunteers and organizations who donated their time to this project.”
Community parks like Peoria GreenSplash are vital for connecting children to nature. Nature-based play areas foster an appreciation for environmental stewardship, while providing opportunities for physical activity. In Peoria, community members will benefit by playing in clean water and learning about native plants, the natural water cycle, and environmental stewardship. Peoria GreenSplash features educational signage on the benefits of native plants and clean water.
Roger Goodson, Senior Manager of Field Operations and Production for Illinois American Water said, “The collaborative spirit on this project was vital to its success; our team is proud to have played a role. Every child deserves an opportunity to play and have fun as well as learn about the role water plays in their community. GreenSplash helps fulfill that need in Peoria.”
The splash park was constructed on land donated by the Peoria Housing Authority, at their Harrison Home Redevelopment site.
“We are excited to provide this opportunity for Peoria residents to enjoy, learn about and appreciate the environment in a fun and engaging way,” said Laura Martin, President of the American Water Charitable Foundation. “Peoria GreenSplash will benefit the children and families in this community while encouraging the continued viability and protection of our nation’s water resources.”
The Building Better Communities is a signature program of AWCF and administered by NRPA. The program focuses on building or enhancing nature-based playgrounds and play spaces for children and will connect and educate people on environmental stewardship practices related to water and other natural resources.
“NRPA is proud to partner with the American Water Charitable Foundation to help provide this unique play space to the residents of Peoria,” said Lori Robertson, NRPA director of conservation. “This enhanced space will increase opportunities for physical activity and connect children and families to the wonders of nature through their local park.”
After the ribbon cutting which included comments from Senator Dave Koehler, Mayor Jim Ardis, First District Councilmember Denise Moore, Councilmember Sid Ruckriegal, AWCF President Laura Martin, Illinois American Water Senior Field Manager of Operations and Production Roger Goodson, and Director Peoria Housing Authority Jackie Newman guests were treated to a community party. Music was provided by DJ Brian Culshaw and food from Moja Southern Kitchen. The Illinois American Water mobile education center was on hand to teach guests about the benefits of clean water.
Peoria GreenSplash one of three communities awarded a Building Better Communities grant in 2017. It is the first educational splash pad of this type in Peoria.
For information about the Building Better Communities program, visit https://amwater.com/corp/customers-and-communities/american-water-charitable-foundation/signature-program