With swim season behind them and outdoor activities nearing an end for 2011, members of the Greencastle Park Board looked to future endeavors Thursday night.
The possibility of a new spray park, tree plantings and removal, and even a ballroom dance class were among items discussed during the board's monthly meeting at City Hall.
The idea of adding a spray park to Robe-Ann Park was first presented to the board in June by the Greencastle Civic League, which is hoping to undertake a "signature project" to benefit the community, much in the manner the group spearheaded creation of the Emerald Palace playground at Robe-Ann.
Park Supt. Rod Weinschenk said he and Civic League representative Suzanne Masten have had meetings the past couple of months with engineers, contractors, pool design experts and spray park companies.
The Civic League will be putting a proposal together to bring to the November Park Board meeting, Weinschenk said.
Among the issues are location of the spray park (particularly whether is should be inside the aquatic center or not) as well as how to keep admission to the spray park free without potentially detracting from city pool revenues.
The Civic League is now partnering with the Friends of the Park organization in the effort, Weinschenk reported. No one from either organization attended Thursday's meeting.
Meanwhile, Weinschenk received board approval Thursday to put together a proposal for possible funding through the "Trees in the Urban Forest" 2011 Community and Urban Forestry Grant Program administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Weinschenk would like to secure a grant to help fund removal of two ash trees and one sycamore tree at Robe-Ann Park, as well as planting other trees around the park.
"This is a good way to stretch our tree removal budget," he told the board, noting that Robe-Ann Park "has a lot of older, mature trees that are past their prime and in decline."
A prime example is the big old sycamore tree on the former Clearwater's Nursery property at the southwest edge of the park. The tree is dead and in danger of falling into the street at some point, he said.
The ash trees, including one near the old Miller School building, are also in major decline. Fears of the dreaded emerald ash borer becoming a problem also weigh into the decision to have those trees removed as soon as possible, Weinschenk said.
Among park programming news, the board approved a $55 fee for a series of six classes in ballroom dancing to be offered by the Parks and Recreation Department and the Greencastle School of Ballroom Dance.
The classes, designed for adults, are scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Mondays from Oct. 17-Nov. 14 at the dance school, located at 10 N. Jackson St. For more information, persons may call 653-3395.
Meanwhile, mass registration for the Greencastle Youth Basketball program, sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department for youngsters in grades 1-6 in Greencastle schools, has been scheduled for 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17 and Thursday, Oct. 27 at City Hall. The fee is $50 per player.
Registration forms are available at City Hall and can be filled out and turned in there, as well as mailed to the Parks and Recreation Department at 405 Bloomington St., Greencastle, IN 46135.
Park Board members John Hennette, Tim Trigg and Russ Evans were joined for the October session by new member Beva Miller, who was sworn in at the start of the meeting. She succeeds Kara Thomas, who had previously resigned from the board.
Ex-officio member Wes Wilson of the Library Board was also in attendance, along with Weinschenk and Assistant Park Director Troy Scott.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Park Board is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 at City Hall. The board has elected to change its monthly meeting date to the first Thursday of each month rather than the first Wednesday.