After years of fundraising, a splash pad will finally become a reality in Brainerd.

The group working on the project announced in early March construction will begin on the Memorial Park splash pad later this year.

While working on a redesign project for the park set to start this year, the city’s parks board set aside an area for the splash pad, which helped reduce overall costs.

The splash pad group, headed by Emily (Noble) Rolfson, raised $93,000 as of March 5 and secured matching funds of up to $100,000 from the city of Brainerd.

“This is a great example of a group of citizens finding a project they are passionate about and doing the hard work to see it completed,” stated Mayor Dave Badeaux, council liaison to the parks board, in a news release. “The park board and city of Brainerd are extremely excited to be a part of seeing this through.”

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With less than $10,000 needed to complete the project, donations are still being accepted through the group’s GoFundMe page at bit.ly/BrainerdSplashPad. Check donations can be made out to Brainerd Community Action with “splash pad” on the memo line and sent to 321 S Seventh St. Brainerd, MN 56401.

Sponsorship opportunities are available, too, with donors able to sponsor bricks, stepping stones and tables to be placed around the new splash pad.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Rolfson at rbcfundraisers@gmail.com or through the group’s Facebook page Brainerd Splash Pad.

“We can't express how truly thankful we are to the Brainerd Lakes community for helping us get to this point,” Rolfson stated in the news release. “It’s been a very long road, but we are finally so close to our goal and we are hoping that there are still people out there who want to help us splash this thing over the top!”

Rolfson and fellow Brainerd mom Meta Mandich began the push for a splash pad in 2016. Despite various challenges, the two are now excited to see the finished project, which will include a recirculating water system and several splashing, spraying and sensory stations at a cost of roughly $200,000.

“The time is now. This is the last serious push, and it really is going to become a reality,” Rolfson said during a phone interview. “I think a lot of people have waited to donate until this point, and I can guarantee it’s a for sure thing.”

While construction will begin this year, the timeline for completion is unknown. Rolfson has her fingers crossed the splash pad will be ready for use this year, but it is not a guarantee.

For more information on the splash pad project, visit www.brainerdsplashpad.com.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa.