City of Alton to Break Ground on New Community Splash Pad

Project is a collaboration between the City of Alton, American Water Charitable Foundation, National Recreation and Parks Association and Illinois American Water

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Alton, Ill. (Feb. 18, 2021) – While many in the River Bend area are battling winter weather, The City of Alton, American Water Charitable Foundation (AWCF), National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and Illinois American Water are looking forward to spring and the groundbreaking of a new community splash pad. Construction will begin on the City of Alton’s Splash Pad 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 AWCF, whose program is administered by the NRPA. The City of Alton received additional financial support through the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) 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 NRPA 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

The American Water Charitable Foundation was established in 2010 with a founding contribution from American Water, the American Water Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides a formal way to demonstrate the company’s ongoing commitment to being a good neighbor, citizen and contributor to the communities where American Water and its employees live, work and operate. The Foundation helps support American Water employee-identified nonprofit endeavors.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville. For more information, visit and follow Illinois American Water on Twitter and Facebook.


About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable, and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts

Karen Cotton

External Affairs Manager


Michael Haynes

Director of Park and Rec