Dr. Hal Patton, Edwardsville mayor, was the key speaker Tuesday at a press conference announcing park developments in the city.One of Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton’s major goals long before he took office was to improve the parks system in the community and recreational opportunities.

At a press conference on Tuesday morning, Patton announced “A Better Place to Play” campaign that will fund three projects in Edwardsville. The three are a Spray & Play Park, an Ice Rink/Teen Center and a multi-use Sports Park.

Patton pointed out that the projects will benefit not only residents of Edwardsville and Glen Carbon, but people throughout the region and beyond.

“This is an incredible opportunity to have a true impact on the future of creation in this wonderful community,” he said.

Patton added that the city is seeking a combination of funding for each project to include the Park’s Capital Improvement Fund, corporate sponsorships, grant funding and donations from area families. He also mentioned that through the partnership with the Edwardsville Community Foundation, tax-deductible gifts can be made to the overall campaign or individual projects.

Patton said an expansion of the parks system is long overdue. “Our population has grown to 26,631 and our population has doubled in the last 20 years,” he said. “But it has been more than 20 years since we have added to our parks.”

“We are fortunate for our roots and values in the school system and trail system,” he said.

The Ice Rink/Teen Center will offer a walking track and concession stand for visiting parents as well as equipment rental, study areas and lounge for athletes from home and visiting teams.

The new rink will be located on city-leased property behind Edwardsville School District’s all-surface outdoor track. The rink would mean Edwardsville athletes could use this facility and not have to drive away for ice time.

A Spray & Play Park is another key component of the plan. It will feature a splash pad and dry playground with ADA standards considered. It will also include a walking/fitness track, shade structures, pavilions and restrooms. The Spray & Play Park will be constructed behind Edwardsville’s future public safety facility.

Edwardsville Rotary announced at the press conference a $30,000 for the project. The city has also applied for a $133,000 grant from the Madison County Park Enhancement Program.

The final project is a Sports Park, located close to the I-55 corridor. Patton said this will be for softball, baseball, soccer, field hockey, basketball and pickleball. The complex will accommodate those with special needs and also will be an area for future tournaments and recreational play.

“We want to make these facilities true assets, and in some cases, money making entities for the community,” said Patton. The campaign aims to improve the quality of life for everyone, regardless of age or socioeconomics. We have an opportunity to strengthen the Edwardsville community by providing recreation for area citizens to improve their health.”

Patton said the new park would attract people from out of town. They will be eating at local restaurants, shopping at stores and staying all night at hotels, all pluses.

The Ice Rink/Teen Center costs are estimated at $7 million for a 43,000-square-foot facility. Building naming rights will require $2 million. There are a variety other ways to donate and sponsor for the Ice Rink/Teen center. Anticipated grant funding is $2.8 million and goal for sponsorships is $2.34 million. The community fund-raising goal is $3 million.

The Spray & Play Park will cost an estimated $2 million. Goal for sponsorships is $760,000; anticipated grant funding is $833,000. Community Fund-raising Goal is $500,000.

The Sports Park costs are estimated at $3 million.

The Edwardsvile Rotary donates a $30,000 to the new parks project in Edwardsville. Mayor Hal Patton accepts the large check replica.Anticipated grant funding for the park is $400,000; park-naming rights will go for $500,000 and the fields will have naming rights sponsorships, too. The community fund-raising goal is $2 million and goal for sponsorships is $1.67 million.

Patton said he believes with the team that has been assembled, the funds will be able to be raised through the various ways to complete the different projects.

“We have a very high quality of life here and we try to balance that by maintaining our history,” Patton added. “Our goal is to make the community even better. We want to get this done for the next generation.”

 Laura Reed of Cork Tree Creative, Inc., provided information for this story.

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