Event Scheduled to Raise Funds for Splash Pad on Kalispell Trail

Kids can observe and operate heavy machinery with skilled experts on June 8; first 500 get to build wooden tool box

By Myers Reece
An excavator moves dirt at a construction site. Beacon File Photo

Kids will have the opportunity to get safe, hands-on experience with heavy machinery at a fundraiser to support the construction of a family-friendly splash pad along the future Kalispell Trail.

The fundraiser will be held rain or shine on Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kalispell North Town Center near the Kalispell Ford dealership. Attendees will turn off U.S. Highway 93 onto Rose Crossing to access the event.

Kalispell Noon and Daybreak Rotary Clubs are partnering with LHC, Inc. to host the DIG event. In addition to LHC, other local construction companies are providing equipment for the event.

Kelly Bilau, president-elect of Kalispell Noon Rotary Club and co-chair of the DIG event, said there will be 22 pieces of equipment onsite for children to observe up close and operate with skilled experts, including excavators, dump trucks, graders, bulldozers, skid-steer loaders and more.

Montana CAD will be displaying its conveyor aggregate delivery (CAD) systems, and there will be food trucks, refreshments and a video continually playing with images of splash pads from around the country. The cost is $5 per person or $20 for a family of five or more.

“There will be lots of different things and moving parts for kids to see and play with,” Bilau said.

The event is part of what Bilau anticipates will be a multi-year fundraising drive to pay for both the construction of splash pad and build up a maintenance fund so that the city of Kalispell incurs no costs. Rotary International is an international philanthropic organization, but individual clubs also engage in philanthropic projects on the local level.

Kalispell Rotary Clubs previously raised funds to construct and maintain Kidsports’ Miracle Field, which has a special surface for individuals with disabilities.

“We look at, ‘What can we do to keep people active and healthy?’” Bilau said. “We decided it was time to look at something else we can do for the community after Miracle Field.”

The Kalispell Trail will replace the Great Northern Railway track through the heart of town. In addition to the pedestrian trail itself, the project will have landscaping and other amenities, perhaps including lighting, benches, picnic areas, bathrooms and signage.

The splash pad will have a number of water and shower features to provide fun activities and a cool reprieve on hot days for families. It’s essentially a free-flowing water park, with no standing water, and will be accessible for individuals with disabilities.

The first 500 kids to the event will get to build their own wooden toolboxes thanks to kits donated by The Home Depot. A long list of other local businesses also donated to the event.

“It’s been a great community event to go around and ask, ‘Hey we’re doing this and does anybody have anything they want to add to the fun?’” Bilau said.