It's been a long time in coming, but Greencastle park officials are pleased to announce that construction of the new Big Walnut Community Park will begin later this month.
Members of the park board met Friday evening and approved a bid by Wabash Valley Asphalt to pave the now a gravel driveway leading through the city-owned portion of the property and create a new, paved parking lot and walking path.
Last year, the park board received a Land and Water Conservation Grant, from the state, totaling roughly $129,000 to go toward improvements of the land that Sports Park officials deeded over to the city about a month ago.
On Friday, the park board approved spending $163,719 to have the asphalt work done. The company could begin work later this month.
Park board members wanted to make sure the public knows that although they are spending the money for the project now, they will be reimbursed at the end of the project, as part of the Land and Water Conservation Grant.
The grant, however, does not quite cover the cost, but the Greencastle Redevelopment Commission convened earlier this week and members agreed to cover the difference in the bid estimate of $163,000 and the grant totaling just more than $129,000.
New roads and parking aren't the only project planned for the newly acquired space at Big Walnut Sports Park.
Parks and Recreation Director Rod Weinschenk reminded the board Friday that he still intends to install a disc golf course (with a cost of around $10,000), a wildflower area (which he hopes to install by using volunteer labor), and a children's playground area.
The park board has until December of 2009 to complete all the improvements at the Sports Park, as dictated by the grant.
Park board members celebrated the approval of the bid with Wabash Valley Friday night, saying that they are glad that project is now on its way to being completed.
"I think this is a great partnership to be able to get this done," Park Board President Leslie Hanson said, referring to the contributions of the park board, state DNR and Redevelopment Commission.
Weinschenk also said he hopes to add picnic tables to the area as well. The new asphalt will also make the restrooms, new picnic area and concession stand compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).