SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

 

            Generally I don’t like people putting signs on my property, ever since that whole debacle with the charity group that wanted to give away Halloween treats from my garage. It turns out having a big sign that said “Kids! Get Free Candy Here!” didn’t go over well with the neighborhood. Maybe they should have hired a PR guy.

            But it’s a good location for signs, because I’m on Orange Street, one of two main streets in Albion. Whenever non-residents pass by they go on the alert, looking around for oranges. Silly people. But that’s a great opportunity to advertise whatever’s legal to advertise there, which unfortunately for me is mostly people running for election and not-for-profit organizations.

            In other words, people who aren’t going to reward me for having to mow around the things. By the way, I thought you were going to bring me into your organization, Ross Perot. Call me.

            The current sign says “Support Operation Splash Pad”. That seems straightforward enough, but I keep having to explain it. No, it’s not a military invasion of Quebec. We tried that, didn’t go well. No, it’s not my nickname for a groovy new 60’s themed home. No, it’s not a remake of a Tom Hanks movie. Come on, people.

            No, a splash pad is a pad that you splash on. Duh. Specifically, it’s an area where you can play in water that has no actual standing water in it. I’m serious. There are ground nozzles that spray water up, and there can be other things like rainbows, mushroom showers, or tree showers.

            Okay, I’ll grant you that last sentence looks like it was written under the influence of strange mushrooms. But it’s a great place for kids (and adults) to play during the heat of the summer, and has the advantages of not being as expensive to build or maintain as a swimming pool, not needing a lifeguard, and being cool.

            I suppose it could be a great place to play during winter, too, if you appreciate the esthetic qualities of blue skin.

            It would also be one more way to encourage people to stay in town, which hopefully would save them fuel and even get them to spend money here, which is also cool. Also, it would get kids out of the house and into some exercise, but it might be wise not to tell them that. You remember exercise?

            From what I understand, the nozzles can be activated by a motion sensor and put on a timer, so you can save water and still use it during droughts. It also has a flow through functionality. I don’t know what that means, but I remember when my kids were babies, and would sometimes have a flow through functionality. Somebody needs to design a better diaper.

            Splash pads have been around for decades, so they pretty much have the details worked out, but the Albion Lions Club is trying to bring the first one to Albion. They’ve gotten the support of the Albion Park Board, which would place it in Hidden Diamonds Park between the diamonds, maybe over near the rubies. Now the Albion Town Council is on board, and promised that during the dedication they’d be the first to slide through.

            (Okay, I’m making that last part up, but why not?)

            Albion’s splash pad would be a lot like the one in Churubusco, except it would be in Albion. Putting Albion’s pad in ‘Busco would be a little silly.

            The Lions are spearheading the fund raising. Think about it: You’re walking around, and all the sudden a giant lion prowls up to you with a sign that says, “Give Money”. You’d empty your pockets, wouldn’t you? And probably your bladder.

            I wonder if anyone’s approached Black Pine Animal Sanctuary with this idea? Would the Lions get a day pass for this?

            Or it could be we’re talking about the Lions Club, a service organization of more than 45,500 clubs in 205 countries. It turns out they’ve been all about improving the community since 1917, but never mind that – every winter, they bring oranges and grapefruit!

            The only three good things about winter are Christmas, Lions Club citrus, and … well, I can’t think of anything else.

            The thing is, they want the splash pad dedicated by June, 2014, and the estimated total cost is $113,734. (I get a four buck gratuity for writing this column.) I just checked a proposal for a new community swimming pool in another community that totaled a little under two million bucks. I also looked around at the cost of home swimming pools, and it looks like a quality below ground pool for one family runs upwards of $150,000. That’s three times the value of my home. Wait; let me see if my home’s value has changed …

            Okay, four times the value of my home.

            (These costs will vary based on whether you man the shovel yourself.)

            It seems to me a splash pad is a pretty good deal, and something we can leave our kids besides federal debt. I think we should support it, and if you’re hot under the collar and don’t feel that way, well …

            Go jump in the lake.

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Tags: albion, era, mark, new, off, slightly, the

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