Derek Franz

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May 23, 2012
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Fourth-graders ask Gypsum council for a water park, please

Gypsum Elementary fourth-graders packed the room at Tuesday's Gypsum Town Council meeting.

They wanted the town to build a water park. Please.

Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll unknowingly put the idea in their heads about a month ago when he visited the class as a guest speaker.

"I was talking to them about my job and what government does," he said. "Then one of the teachers asked, 'How do people in the community affect change?' So I said, 'By way of an example, if you wanted a water park, collecting signatures for a petition and approaching town council would be a way to do that.' It was off the top of my head - they missed the 'by example' part and ran with it," Shroll said with a wide, chuckling smile.

The class collected 30 pages of signatures, though some signatures were clearly made by people signing the petition multiple times.

Three class representatives presented their argument before council. They said a water park would be an attraction that would draw visitors and boost the town's economy. Their ideas included an underwater food court and a turbine to generate hydro-electric power as water was cycled through the park.

"This is the process, this is the way to get things done - you guys are on the right track," said council member Pam Schultz. "I'm on the recreation committee and we do have a water park in our long-term plans, though it's not as grandiose as the one you propose."

Schultz asked if they had any idea were a good place for the park might be.

"Buckhorn Valley, because it's kind of brown and there's not much going on over there," one outspoken girl said.

Council members said a water park might happen five or 10 years down the road.

"Government moves slow but things get done this way," said Mayor Steve Carver.

Shroll mentioned that plans for the Gypsum Recreation Center started simple but it became something bigger.

"The plans weren't grandiose but it turned out pretty grandiose," he said.

Schultz said there might be some future town planners and engineers in the class.

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The VailDaily Updated May 23, 2012 01:24PM Published May 23, 2012 01:23PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.