The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

June 13, 2013

Lazy river no small chunk of change

OTTUMWA — The biggest challenge in adding a lazy river to The Beach Ottumwa is paying for it, a burden that will now fall on the shoulders of fundraisers.

Parks Director Gene Rathje said the Parks Advisory Board established a lazy river subcommittee this week, consisting of Jody Williams, Dana Warnecke and Nancy Menke.

"Their main job is going to be fundraising," Rathje said. "We're going to make some calls and ask people around town if they would be willing to donate to the lazy river and see what happens. If we're not fortunate enough to get donations, we'll have to put the project on hold until someone comes forward with funding."

The committee has brainstormed a few fundraising ideas, Williams said, but no solid plans have yet been made.

"But if Grinnell can raise the money and put a lazy river in their city's water park, then Ottumwa can," she said.

Several other Iowa communities already have lazy rivers, including the Grinnell Mutual Family Aquatic Center, Pella's Adventure River, Altoona's Adventure Bay and Caribbean Cruiser, Burlington's FunCity and Honey Creek Resort's Buccaneer Bay.

"Communities within a 100-mile radius of us have been able to make that happen," Williams said.

Rathje said obtaining a grant to fund the project isn't likely.

"The Vision Iowa fund used to fund 25 percent of these types of projects, but I don't think it exists anymore," he said. "That fund paid for 25 percent of our renovations two years ago: the new yellow water slide and new children's play area."

A lazy river addition could cost approximately $2.8 million, an amount that soars far above the parks department's budget.

The Beach used to have the only wave pool in Iowa, though it's now just one of a handful in the state, Williams said.

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