MT. JULIET - Little Ava Shay Bright loved nothing more than to splash. She didn't care if it was a fancy pool, at the shores of a lake or in puddles of rain.
Her mother, Krista, said Ava did a lot of splashing in her two short years of life. The memories of her little girl, who found such fun with water, spurred Krista's mission to make a legacy for her daughter and bring the same enjoyment to people in the community.
Ava's life ended two years ago on March 21. It was a common childhood surgery that tragically took her life. She had a tonsillectomy that went terribly wrong and the toddler hemorrhaged.
"She was simply a gift from God," said Krista. "She loved to dance, swim, laugh and hug."
Since that time, it's been Krista's life work to build a splash pad in Ava's memory. There have been fundraising "runs" that brought in thousands of dollars toward the nearly $200,000 project. There have been thousands of other donations. However, what might have put the project over the top was the recent news that Krista's grant proposal to Waterplay Solutions won first place. This means another $70,000 was garnered for the project.
"I am ecstatic," said Krista. "Our dream for the community will actually come to fruition!"
Krista's splash pad in her daughter's honor was one of two finalists and it won by garnering the most votes.
"People in our community believed in us and voted, we are so grateful," said Krista.
Mt. Juliet's Parks Director Jay Cameli said the splash park will have plenty of water jets.
"It will be a different way to cool down," said Cameli. "It will be visually stimulating. It will be wonderful for the city in general. We don't have anything like this in Mt. Juliet."
Now, the decision will be where to put the park. Original plans were for Charlie Daniels Park, but there may be other places for it, according to city officials.
There is still a need for monetary donations and such things as concrete and other building materials. Please call Jennifer Hamblin at 754-2552.
Managing Editor Laurie Everett at 444-3952 ext 46 or at firstname.lastname@example.org