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Alton to break ground on riverfront splash pad

Alton will be making a splash this spring.

The city, the American Water Charitable Foundation, National Recreation and Park Association and Illinois American Water will formally break ground on a new community splash pad at Riverfront Park. Construction will begin within the next month. The water play space is expected to be completed this year.

“Thank you to American Water Charitable Foundation and American Water for their support, this will be a great addition to our community which is a destination for many educational and recreational events,” said Mayor Brant Walker. “This splash pad, which will be located along our beautiful riverfront near the amphitheater, will be an attraction to both residents and visitors.”

Community parks are vital to connecting children to water-focused play and nature. The City of Alton’s splash pad will not only provide equitable access to water play but will also feature nature-themed elements that tie to the community’s connection to the Mississippi River. Nature-based play areas encourage residents to be better environmental stewards, increase physical activity and support healthier habits.

This project was made possible by a $250,000 Building Better Communities grant from the American Water Charitable Foundation, whose program is administered by the National Recreation and Park Association. The City of Alton received additional financial support through the Tax Increment Financing program to aid in constructing concession and restroom facilities at the splash pad/amphitheater location.

“American Water has a strong history in the City of Alton. Illinois American Water has been providing water service in Alton for more than 145 years and recently acquired the wastewater system. One of the company’s two national Customer Service Centers is also located in Alton. Our team is excited to play a role in the splash pad. We look forward to collaborating with the City of Alton on this project which will offer educational signage so residents of all ages can learn about the importance of native plants and environmental stewardship,” said Karen Cooper, director of operations for Illinois American Water.

“Through our work, we have found splash pads are a wonderful way to support water access for all, while engaging community members in environmental education,” said Carrie Williams, president, American Water Charitable Foundation. “Giving back to communities we serve is part of the culture at American Water and we are pleased to partner with the City of Alton to provide this outdoor play space so families can enjoy the wonders of water, while also learning the valuable role we all play in protecting our environment.”

AWCF has partnered with National Recreation and Park Association for the past seven years to bring water and nature-based play amenities to communities across the country through its Building Better Communities Grant Program. The goal of the program is to connect and educate individuals, families and children on environmental stewardship practices related to water and other natural resources.

“We are proud to support the essential work of park and recreation professionals in the City of Alton to provide their communities with equitable water-based education and inclusive play opportunities,” said Kellie May, NRPA vice president, programs and partnerships. “NRPA is proud to support this important work through our partnership with the American Water Charitable Foundation.”

The City of Alton was one of two communities awarded a Building Better Communities grant in 2019. It is the first educational splash pad of this type in Alton.

For information about the Building Better Communities program, visit

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