A Second Chance for Maple Hill Splash Pad

Published on Thursday, November 16, 2023 in Community

This summer, Texas Township’s Maple Hill Splash Pad enjoyed a wildly successful first season. The splash pad was funded by charitable contributions from community organizations like MEC (which we provided via partnership dollars through our power supplier, Wolverine Power Cooperative).

splash pad opening day
Photo courtesy of Texas Township

It’s a proud comeback story for a park that initially failed to attract the state grant dollars necessary to build it. Texas Township Deputy Supervisor Brooke Hovenkamp said more than 400 people gathered to enjoy the park on its opening day.

“We knew it’d be busy, but it’s extremely busy,” said Texas Township Superintendent Erik Wilson.

The idea for the splash pad initially came about in 2014, and township leaders applied for funding through the Department of Natural Resource’s grant cycles in 2015 and 2016. The applications were rejected, however, and the project was shelved for several years.

In 2021, the Texas Township Parks and Trails Committee revisited the idea with a new strategy to get it off the ground: crowdfunding, in which donations are sourced from community members and organizations. Although it was one of the township’s first attempts to crowdfund a project, they had a clear plan in mind to seek out sponsors who were already making a positive impact in the community. MEC was one of around 110 sponsors who proudly donated toward the splash pad’s construction. When all was said and done, Texas Township had raised more than $230,000 over eight months, enough to finally build the community play area that leaders had dreamed of.

splash pad ribbon cutting
Photo courtesy of Texas Township

The Maple Hill Splash Pad features 17 interactive water and spray features. It’s open to children of all abilities and features specific elements for children ages 2–5 and 6–12. From Memorial Day to Labor Day each year, it will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The splash pad is completely free and open to the community—there are no entry fees, and it cannot be rented for private events.

Members of other communities have taken notice of Texas Township’s success. Jeff Root, president of Battle Creek’s Michigan Steelheaders chapter, was visiting on the day we spoke with Wilson and Hovenkamp. Root said he’d like to see a similar recreational opportunity in Battle Creek.

“You couldn’t ask for better things for kids to do than a free program in the summer,” Root said.

The Maple Hill Splash Pad is located in Texas Drive Park at 6603 Texas Drive in Texas Charter Township, Michigan. You can learn more about the splash pad and the township at TexasTownship.org or on the township’s Facebook page (Charter Township of Texas) and its page on X, the site formerly known as Twitter (@TexasTownship).