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Bonners Ferry City Councilman Ron Smith makes it official as councilman Rick Alonzo stands by to turn on the fun for the waiting kids!

With the happy squeals and big smiles of several Boundary County youth as accompaniment, Bonners Ferry City Councilmen Ron Smith and Rick Alonzo, ably guided by city administrator Lisa Ailport as city attorney Andrakay Pluid and clerk/treasurer Christine McNair looked on, officially opened the new splash pad at the Bonners Ferry City Pool at 10 a.m. today.

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Though the ceremony and "official" opening didn't take place until 10 a.m., the new splash pad, which operates and opens independently of the swimming pool, actually opened at 7 a.m., and will operate and be open from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. daily, likely through September.

"Because it doesn't require a  life guard, it can run on its own schedule," Lisa said.

If you stop during operating hours, but see no cool water merrily dancing, the water cannon dry and the trio of overhead buckets still and unmoving instead of filling and tipping to lend a splash of excitement, don't be averted!

A touch of the top of a silver post in the nearest and busiest corner with set the water in motion and start the fun! It's one of the features that increases the efficiency and makes it more affordable to run.

The splash pad was funded with the use of the Blue Cross Foundation's High 5 Community Transformation money and a grant for $10,000 by the Innovia Foundation.

The pad cost around $60,000 to construct.

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"This project is most exciting because when we received the Blue Cross Community Transformation Grant, this was the sort of project we had in mind," Ailport said. "However, when we started evaluating the cost to renovate the pool, the pad became more of a wish than a reality."

Given that city official were such good stewards of the Blue Cross money, usinkg it to leverage other granting sources, the idea of the splash pad became a reality again.

"We worked with the city council, the High 5 steering committee, the Blue Cross foundation and the Innovia Foundation and secured the funding for the project," she said. "A year later, and the project is operational!"

Another huge savings to the city came by having city personnel do the work themselves instead of contracting it out.

"The city streets and park crews were responsible for constructing the pad," Lisa said. "This group of men are some of the most dedicated men on our city team. We consider ourselves blessed to have such dedicated employees in making Bonners Ferry the best place to live in Idaho. I couldn't be more proud to work side-by-side with all of them!

"Council and all the city staff couldn't be more proud to construct and offer this to our community. We look forward to seeing it being used well into the future! "

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City employees (l-r) Scooter Drake, Eddy Invernon, John Youngwirth and Tim English, all of whom did considerable work to make the new Bonners Ferry Splash Pad a reality, stopped by momentarily to see their hard work and dedication being enjoyed.

Publisher

Mike Weland has been a journalist since serving as battalion Hometown News specialist in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division beginning in 1979. He is publisher, editor and reporter at KootenaiValleyTimes.com, which he launched in March, 2018.

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