Linda Black spearheads planning, fundraising
TONASKET – Efforts to rebuilt Tonasket’s city swimming pool may be moving at a glacial pace, but not so Linda Black’s work toward a water spray park.
Black first proposed the spray park to the Tonasket City Council a year ago as a way to fill the water recreation gap until the pool could be rebuilt, and as something that would continue afterward as an alternative.
The council on Tuesday, Dec. 11, granted Black permission to pursue the project, which would involve the $150,000 to $200,000 spray park to be placed in Chief Tonasket Park in an area adjacent to the bathrooms toward the south end of the park.
The city would be responsible for maintenance, which is expected to be minimal, but the project itself is being spearheaded by Black and will be funded entirely through private donations. Black hopes to have the park operational by sometime in the summer of 2013.
“I’ve just been obsessed with this thing,” she told the council Tuesday.
She said her obsession led her to meetings with a pair of Kurts – city planner Kurt Danison of Highlands Associates, and Kurt Holland, project manager of Varela and Associates, the city’s engineering firm – that helped her to connect with others that had knowledge and resources to push the project along.
She said that Holland recommended putting the spray park in at Chief Tonasket Park due to its superior drainage and infrastructure and introduced her to a Spokane landscape architect.
Thus was born the concept of the Tonasket Water Ranch, which Black said will offer 15 water activities and provide a link to Tonasket’s ranching and farming heritage.
In addition to asking for financial donations, Black has appealed to a number of locals to donate their talents to their project.
“I asked if Bob and Jane Thompson would donate concrete haystacks for scenery,” she said. “Quill Hyde said that he would make a monster horse with a mermaid tail and a recycling fountain … George Baumgardner agreed to build a bike rack.
“I want to instill a lot from our local artists and craftsmen so that just coming there will be interesting.”
The water spray forms – shaped like animals – are “nearly indestructible,” she said, and will be clear-coated so that graffiti, for instance, could be removed with paint thinner without damaging the forms.
“You’ve tapped into an entirely different resource that I didn’t see coming,” said Tonasket mayor Patrick Plumb. “This is an opportunity for local farmers, ranchers and orchardists to tap into this and contribute as a part of the history of this area…
“A lot of people talk about ‘north end (of the county) cooperation,’” he added. “And you embody that. This would give us a great transition toward the pool.”
True to her word, Black is off to a running start. Having already secured a $25,000 from one major donor, Black said on Friday that that same donor has agreed to match the next $25,000 raised, which means fundraising could soon be nearing the halfway point.
“I’ve got a couple of calls in to some organizations,” she said. “The big thing right now is having the design people getting started on the cost analysis. It’s been great because all of the different people involved have been communicating well with each other.
“I see this as everyone in town knowing about it,” Black said while concluding her presentation before the council. “Hopefully everyone will be getting involved in some way.”