By Lori Lindner
North Liberty Leader
NORTH LIBERTY– It’s hard to think of donning shorts and playing outside in the sprinkler when outdoor temperatures have been sub-zero, but the City of North Liberty is planning for just that.
On Jan. 14, the North Liberty City Council approved the purchase of $25,000 worth of components for a new splash pad to be installed this spring.
The recreational addition was the incentive chosen by public as a result of the community’s participation in the Alliant Energy Hometown Rewards Program.
The Hometown Rewards program encourages communities to reduce overall energy usage by pledging to adopt energy-efficient behaviors, such as turning off lights and unplugging unused electronics, or investing in energy-efficient upgrades like compact fluorescent light bulbs and low-flow water fixtures. When a community reaches a certain threshold of pledges and participation, Alliant Energy rewards the town with financial assistance to provide a new amenity, chosen by public survey.
The estimated cost for the project is $75,000 total, but North Liberty City Administrator Ryan Heiar told the council last week city staff wanted to proceed with ordering the components and begin consulting with the contractor for installation.
The location for the new splash pad is still undetermined, but Heiar said the city has been communicating with a parks consultant to determine the best placement. Recent conversations have included installation at or near Penn Meadows Park on the east side of town.
Council member Chris Hoffman asked about sustainability features of the proposed splash pad.
“At one time, we talked about different environmental efficiencies and electricity use,” Hoffman said. “How will it work? Is the water being recycled? Does it use water we are buying that we don’t get to re-use? Do we know much will the electricity will it take?”
Heiar said the water will not be recycled into the splash pad’s system because re-circulating the water and filtering it would take considerably more energy, and thus cost more to operate.
“This percolates water back into the ground,” Heiar said. “Plus, you turn the water on only when you are there using it, and it turns off automatically. It wouldn’t run continually. The volume of water should not be an issue, because they are built for minimal use of water.”
The $25,000 purchase unanimously approved by the council last week is for parts for the system only. Heiar said staff would return to the council for approval of bids on concrete and other work that will be necessary to complete the project.
Heair said installation is slated for this spring.
The City of North Liberty’s Hometown Rewards participation goals included reducing energy consumption and environmental emissions in public buildings and in the residential sector, reduce per-capita water consumption, reduce emissions from government transportation, reduce solid waste generation and increase recycling rates, develop land use policies and building codes that encourage energy efficiencies and sustainable design, and create educational and engagement opportunities for developers and the public to learn more about sustainable practices.
More information about Alliant Energy’s Hometown Rewards program, and North Liberty’s participation, including the city’s baseline energy usage, can be found at northlibertyiowa.org/community/hometown-rewards.