New splash pad brings summer fun to Decatur

A new splash pad at Beck Memorial Park in Decatur now offers area families another amenity for summer fun, while serving as an example of the impact of charitable giving.

A gift from a Decatur High School graduate and longtime proponent of the community made the new amenity possible, said organizers with Future of Decatur Foundation Fund (FDFF), an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF). Jeanette Major-Nix didn’t live in Decatur her entire life, but she always considered it home. A $1.2 million planned gift realized in 2021 to benefit the Future of Decatur Foundation Fund ensures that affection for her beloved community is felt forever.

Decatur residents have dreamed of having their own splash pad for at least a decade. When FDFF received Major-Nix’s gift, volunteers knew they could finally make it happen.

Volunteers quickly assembled a task force to discuss in detail their splash pad plans. To ensure a great experience for all residents, they took time to find a location that offered accessibility, shade and parking. Beck Memorial Park ticked every box.

“The park was a good fit with the shelter, playground and campground nearby,” said FDFF member Carrie Maryott. “We feel like we chose the right place.”

After a groundbreaking in November 2022, the splash pad opened to the public just in time for summer on June 2. Crouch Recreation, the playground design firm created by former Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch and his wife Nicole, installed the equipment. The community also took ownership in the project, with many residents dedicating time and talent. Lonnie Rogers donated 4,100 square feet of sod, which Jeremy Schuetze picked up, delivered and laid.

The response has been unsurprisingly positive, Marryott said. Families have flocked to the splash pad since it opened, with many expressing amazement at the new feature.

“We have a lot of hours into this project and to receive that feedback from our community is fantastic,” Maryott said. “I feel very proud and lucky to have been part of this.”

Major-Nix would have been proud, too.

“I think she would enjoy all of the kids playing,” Maryott said. “I envision her with a big smile on her face. I just think she would really love it.”

Volunteers said the splash pad is just one of many projects FDFF hopes to accomplish thanks to the generosity of Major-Nix which they hope will inspire further charitable investment from community members who want to see Decatur grow and prosper.

“I hope people come to us with ideas to help better our village,” Maryott said. “Through the Future of Decatur Foundation Fund, we have the ability to improve our Decatur.”

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