Harmony Area Community Foundation designates splash pad project recipient of Give to the Max Day funds

By: 
Melissa Vander Plas

Thursday, Nov. 14, is a big day for the Harmony Area Community Foundation, as well as other area non-profits. Give to the Max Day is a dedicated fundraising event that inspires Minnesotans to financially support their favorite charities.

For the past several years, the Harmony Area Community Foundation (HACF) has chosen a specific project to support through donations made during the Give to the Max campaign, unless otherwise designated.

This year, funds given to HACF through Give to the Max will go to support creating a splash pad in one of Harmony’s parks.

Sandy Strozyk is a member of the HACF and is leading the newly created splash pad committee, which meets on the first Tuesday of each month, at 6:30 p.m., at the community center.

She said Give to the Max Day is one of two major fundraising events held by HACF each year. The other is Swing into Spring, held the first Saturday of April.

There are currently 160 members of HACF, which is beginning its seventh year.

The HACF newsletter stated, “The proposed splash pad will enhance our beautiful city park, promote additional tourism and encourage young families to move to Harmony.”

Strozyk explained that the idea for creating a splash pad came after learning that Harmony residents expressed, through an Experience Harmony survey, the desire to have some sort of water feature in town. “We can’t afford a pool, we don’t have lakes or rivers, so this seemed like a good option,” she added.

A splash pad provides a zero-depth water feature that can be installed nearly anywhere. Splash pads can offer spray jets and above-ground spray features that provide different opportunities for water play. 

Strozyk also noted that the splash pad will likely be located in Trailhead Park, pending park board approval, which is close to the bike trail, local restaurants, the visitor center and good parking.

The goal for the splash pad committee is to raise $100,000, however, not all that is expected to come from the Give to the Max Day contributions. She noted the fundraising goal for Give to the Max is to exceed the $30,000 it raised last year.

“The equipment for the splash pad will cost $30,000 to $40,000, and then there are costs for infrastructure and grading,” Strozyk explained. “With additional funds, we hope to help with a shelter and landscaping.”

A splash pad will benefit kids in the community as well as people coming off the bike trail and visiting Harmony. Strozyk also feels it will draw families from neighboring communities to Harmony as well.

One benefit of the splash pad is it can be operated independently and there is not a need for lifeguards or other staffing.

Strozyk also noted that more water features can be added to the park as more funds are raised.

“We want to keep our town vital,” she added. “It’s important to reach out to our young families.”

Foundation supports community

To date, the community foundation has granted over $255,004 for local projects and events. In 2019, the foundation has already supported over $39,000 in projects, including the bike trail extension to Niagara Cave and the Iowa border, $15,000; Fillmore County Food Shelf, $900; Fillmore Central scholarships, $500; Special Olympics Fillmore County, $500; Fillmore County Veterans Home Project, $1,000; Harmony North Park basketball court rehabilitation, $10,000; Fourth of July Celebration, $3,000; Splash Pad Start Up Fund, $1,554; Empty Bowls Project, $300; Golden Happenings, $500; Fillmore Central Science Backpacks, $3,000 and Fillmore Central Internship program, $3,000.

HACF funding is based on improving the quality of life in Harmony and building a stronger community for its residents to live in.

To donate

To give to the Harmony Area Community Foundation during Give to the Max Day, donate online using debit or credit card at bit.do./harmony-community-fund; or send a check to HACF, P.O. Box 342, Harmony, MN 55939 by Nov. 14 to be counted in this campaign. One may also drop a donation off to Steve Donney at his office at 17 Center Street East in Harmony on or before Nov. 14.

Matching efforts will be available to HACF during this drive: $1 for each $3 given up to $1,500 by First Southeast Bank of Harmony and Canton; $1 for each $3 given up to $1,500 by Harmony Enterprises.

Strozyk stressed that one does not need to be a member of the Harmony Area Community Foundation to donate and support this project. However, if one would like to join, this is also a great time to do that, with the contribution benefitting the splash pad project. A “Founder” member has contributed $1,000 to the foundation, but one may also “Pledge” to be a Founder by donating $100 a year for 10 years.