Bainbridge Town Council members Richard Cope, Bonnie Osborn and Naomi Barker approved a resolution for a five-year master parks plan at their Wednesday evening meeting.
The town received federal Community Development Block Grant money from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to fund a study, which is the first step in applying for grant money to improve parks.
Terry Jones, West Central Indiana Development District (WCIEDD) conducted a public hearing and asked for input from community members prior to the regular town council meeting.
He told the roomful of people that approximately $30-35 million were available in grant money in Indiana. These grants are designed for use in low- to moderate-income areas. An earlier survey conducted by Jones qualified Bainbridge for the Master Park Planning Grant.
Alyssa Prazeau, Context, Inc., presented the public with a proposed five-year master plan for the Parks and Recreation Department. This plan includes the relocation of ballparks, new walking trails, expanded playground areas, an amphitheater, Gazebo, tennis courts, spray pad and parking.
Sites included in the plan are Bainbridge Park, Steward Park and the Community building area. The master plan, which would take 10-15 years, would cost $648,850. It would be completed in phases that would start in 2008 with the addition of sidewalks at the community building, signage, sidewalk and striping at the basketball court and site master plan and construction documents for Bainbridge Park.
The town's contribution in matching funds for the grant was $2,200. Total money allotted was $19,800.
Town Clerk Jason Hartman asked Jones when the earliest possible time to see the new grant money would be.
"The best case scenario would be next summer, but that may not be likely," said Jones. Grant applications are due in mid-June, will take at least 60 days for review and will require a 20 percent match from the town.
"Matching funds can be in forms other than just cash," Prazeau told the group. "For instance the purchase of new park land could be a match but you can't use it until you get the grant," she said.
"Thinking outside the box can save you money. The cost of hauling dirt might count toward the match, and there are other things possible," added Prazeau.
Park Council members Jamie Tennis, Pam Smith, Marsha Burns and Michelle Kiger told the public that what was presented by Prazeau was just her idea of what the town might need or want.
"For instance, in the plan the Gazebo is blocking the bottom of the sledding hill. It just needs to be moved over in the plan," said Prazeau.
"You have to make adjustments and changes as you see fit," she added.
Now that the five-year plan is in place the town can look at acquiring grants from Department of Natural Resources and other agencies for park development monies.
The five-year plan has to be updated every five years in order for the town to remain eligible for grant money.
The Town Council unanimously approved the resolution.