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Ready for splashdown in Woodbury

Woodbury City Council made an informal decision last week to move forward with a splash pad at the Bielenberg Sports Center complex.

By the time the new expanded facility is completed next spring, it will have an all-accessible playground in addition to the proposed water feature.

The council will still have to approve the project in an official vote, but at the Wednesday, May 15 workshop, three of the five members made it clear they support the project.

City officials had been contemplating the project for months, and whether to use available dollars to pay for the water feature.

The city currently has $500,000 in the park dedication fund, which is money collected from residential and commercial developments over the years and is reserved for park projects and others like a splash pad.

"I do think it would be a good use of our park dedication fund," Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said.

The splash pad would make Madison's Place - a handicap-accessible playground to be built by the Madison Claire Foundation - more competitive and attract more families, she said.

But she emphasized that using the money for a splash pad will not stop her from continuing to work with potential private partners who may be interested in bringing a community pool to Woodbury.

"In my mind, this is not in lieu of a pool," she said.

At the meeting, Council Member Amy Scoggins reiterated that she's not supportive of a splash pad. She previously said she wasn't convinced it was an amenity that would attract local families.

Woodbury resident Michael Litgen, who holds a real estate license as a hobby, did his own research and presented it to the council last week.

He said Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Cottage Grove and St. Cloud all have successful splash pads, as does Edina, which also offers an aquatic center.

"Our town must always be building for future success," he said. "I believe the spirit of the fund is to build something exactly like the splash pad."

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.