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West Unity cuts ribbon on splash pad

This article is brought to you by The Bryan Times

By Lucas Bechtol

Jul 27, 2022

Kids play in the splash pad at West Unity prior to the ribbon cutting on Wednesday. Mayor Don Leu is pictured in red, guarding the activation button so the water would stop for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Photo by Lucas Bechtol

WEST UNITY — West Unity cut the ribbon on its splash pad Wednesday evening, officially opening the water attraction for residents.

Unofficially, the splash pad has been in operation for a few weeks and kids have already made plenty of use of it during that time, including right before the ribbon cutting.

“This project started quite a while ago,” Mayor Don Leu said at the ribbon cutting. “I talked to an ex-councilman and we talked about it years ago, it never happened.”

Village officials applied for a grant a couple years ago and, with the help of State Rep. Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon) and State Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon), they received a $100,000 grant from the State of Ohio.

That was combined with donations from the Millcreek-West Unity Area Foundation and the Bryan Eagles, Leu said. This resulted in little money coming from the village coffers with the exception of the costs of the water and the labor to install it.

“It worked out great,” he said. “Your taxes still paid for it, but it’s a different tax. It’s state tax.”

Leu said Hoops was a great help, especially with the grant process.

Hoops congratulated everyone.

“We always look for projects like this with the capital budget because sometimes a community this size, this is the only way you can get something like this because you just don’t have the funds to do it,” he said. “One thing I saw when looking at the capital projects was the support that came from the local community.”

Hoops likes to see the community help, as state officials don’t like giving money to a project with the state paying for it all, as it makes them question whether the municipality really wants the project done.

Lew Hilkert, a member of the Millcreek-West Unity Area Foundation, said the foundation was formed several years ago, investing money that has grown and allowed them to put money back into the area.

“Those funds are invested back in, whether it’s to the school or the fire departments or the village,” said Hilkert, who is also a Williams County commissioner. “This is the largest donation that we’ve been able to make for a project.” Several more people helped out with the project.

The village needed help from area businesses that pitched in by donating supplies or offering discounts while village employees installed the splash pad, Leu said. Other employees filled in while they were installing the pad.

“I’d like to make a big thanks to everyone involved,” he said. “Even the students out here, the kids, they were a big help, (saying) ‘When are you going to get this thing? When are you going to get this thing? We want this thing.’ So, they kept on me so I wouldn’t slack off and not do it.”

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