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franklin county times

Russellville receives funding to build largest splash pad in state

Russellville City Council has been working for 12 years to build a splash pad in the community, and that dream is becoming a reality thanks to funding through Pilgrim’s Pride.

“I stood here 12 years ago and talked about how it was our dream to be able to offer this to the town,” said Councilman Gary Cummings. “It was just never the right time, but finally things fell into place. I never saw this coming, but I sure am glad it did.”

The project will be financed entirely through a Pilgrim’s Pride program called Hometown Strong. Complex manager Kevin Touchstone said the program was designed to benefit local communities.

“Pilgrim’s is really proud to be able to do this for our community,” Touchstone said. “We really want to give back, and I think it’ll be a great addition to the community.”

Touchstone said Pilgrim’s Pride received $600,000 to go toward local projects. After allocating a portion of it for scholarships, Touchstone said he approached the city council about projects in need of funding.

“When I mentioned we had funding available, they pulled out a folder full of ideas and possibilities,” Touchstone said. “They already had the ideas in place, but we are happy to be able to make this a reality.”

Touchstone presented the city council with a check for $309,000, the complete cost of the splash pad. The splash pad is planned to be the largest in the state, able to accommodate 175 children at once.

“We had previously drawn up plans for a project that would cost $150,000 and were trying to find a way to fund it,” said Mayor David Grissom. “To now have Pilgrim’s funding this and to be able to make it bigger and better is awesome.”

Grissom said the hope is to expand the idea for a splash pad and be able to offer water slides for visitors as well.

“We hope to turn Russellville into more of a destination, and I believe this will be a great start,” Grissom said.

Grissom said the future home of the splash pad is still unknown, with the city looking at a few different options depending on the design. One option would be adjacent to Sloss Lake.

“We are still figuring some things out, but hopefully we will be starting on this real soon,” Grissom said. “We are really excited to be able to offer this and think it will only help the city grow.”