Children will have to wait at least another week before they can splash around in the city’s newest park.
The new Leon Corlew Park was slated to open July 1, but city officials have announced they will delay opening the “splash-n-play” park to July 8 in order to test equipment, make sure the staff is trained and put in finishing touches such as laying down sod.
“There are a few details that still need to be finalized before opening, including the parking lot and the training of park staff,” said Bob Pfeiffer, director of parks and recreation. “We want to make sure families have the best experience at the park, so we are going to take the extra week to polish things up.”
The park has been named after Leon Corlew, a former city alderman and local Rotarian. Corlew Park will include a walking and fitness track, playground, shade structures, pavilions and native plantings with interpretative signage as well as a butterfly garden. Restrooms and changing areas have been constructed near the splash pad area.
We know the public is very excited about the opening, and we can’t wait until July 8 so area families can add another park to their list of summer attractions.
Bob Pfeiffer, director of parks and recreation
Katie Grable, assistant director of parks and recreation, said they are still working on the parking lot, signage and masonry at the entrance.
In addition, the staff will need training. “We will have a monitor on duty who is dedicated to the splash pad,” Grable said. “The other areas will be like our traditional parks, but there are more safety concern with the splash pad.” For example, Grable said, the monitor will need to clear visitors off the splash pad and turn off the water during thunderstorms.
“We know the public is very excited about the opening, and we can’t wait until July 8 so area families can add another park to their list of summer attractions,” Pfeiffer said.
Adding parks is becoming a theme in Edwardsville: the Better Place to Play program is the first of three parks currently under development. The city has plans to develop a sports park for baseball, softball, soccer and other sports near the I-55 corridor, and an ice rink and teen center to be located on land adjacent to Edwardsville High School near Governors Parkway.
The “spray-n-play” area is cosponsored by the Edwardsville Rotary, which donated $30,000; Junior Service Club, which donated $40,000; First Cloverleaf Bank, which donated $10,000; and Global Brew Tap House, which donated $8,000, among other grants.
The city also received a $400,000 grant from the state, but Grable said it was never actually disbursed because of the state budget stalemate. “It’s unknown if they’re going to make good on it,” she said. “We were given notice that it would not be available until a budget was passed.”
Some of the features originally planned have not been constructed yet, but they were able to move forward with the basic construction, she said.
Sponsors are still being sought for the other two parks, as well as for more features at Corlew Park, including pavilions, exercise equipment and a “babbling brook.” Other features, such as the outdoor exercise equipment, will wait until the worst of the summer heat has passed, Grable said.
“We are focusing on the amenities that will be in use right away,” she said.
The park is located on property acquired by the city for the new fire and police station, currently under construction south of Main Street and St. Louis Street. The soft opening will be July 8, with a grand opening celebration tentatively set for July 23, Grable said.