Mystery entity helping RW mayor to acquire grant for splash pad

RIDGEWAY – Ridgeway Mayor Heath Cookendorfer announced to town council members last week that the Town had received a S.C. Parks and Recreation Department grant for $40,242.75 to be used to construct a 30-foot x 30-foot splash pad in the town’s park. He asked council to approve the grant, which requires a $10,000 match from the town, and to give him permission to move forward seeking more funding for the splash pad which is estimated to cost $200,000.

After that, Cookendorfer’s information about the project became murky – beginning with what he called an unnamed entity that he said is trying to find grant funding for an undisclosed additional amount of money to cover the cost of the splash pad and other projects – renovation of the teacherage, construction of a pavilion with grills in the picnic area, restrooms and more.

Cookendorfer said he had also spoken to a member of the Fairfield delegation who plans to write a letter to get an additional $50,000 from $1.8 million the state has set aside for recreation.

“That would give us $90,000,” he said. 

“What is this splash pad going to cost the Town of Ridgeway,” Councilman Rufus Jones asked.

“I’m working with someone who’s writing a grant to where the Town will have no cost for this project,” Cookendorfer said.

“What will it cost the Town for annual upkeep?” Councilman Dan Martin asked.

“I don’t have that information,” Cookendorfer said. He also said he didn’t yet know the cost of electricity or warranty, but that liability was not an issue. “It’s not a pool, which is where the extra cost for liability comes in,” he said.

“All I’m doing right now is letting council know I’m seeking funding,” Cookendorfer said. “I don’t want to say too much but an entity is looking into writing the grant that will help with this project.”

“Who are ‘they?’ Jones asked.

“I don’t want to say because there’s no promise of their funding. So if we don’t get it, we don’t move forward” [with the project], Cookendorfer said. “If Ridgeway gets the grant, the entity will help us shop around to find a company to build the splash pad with the lowest bid.”

Cookendorfer did not disclose an estimate of how much the entire project – including the teacherage, pavilion, restrooms, grills and picnic tables – would cost.

 Council voted 5 – 0 for Cookendorfer to move forward seeking additional funding to cover the project.

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