The grant, administered through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, will help fund proposed improvements at Big Walnut Sports Park on the city's East Side.
While the city applied for the grant last June 1, the project is supposed to be completed by the end of 2013. The city was informed of the successful grant application in a recent letter (dated April 17) from the DNR to Park Director Rod Weinschenk.
The grant-funded project is scheduled to:
* Create a new asphalt parking area near the softball field at the southwest corner of the park. The new parking area would accommodate 69 vehicles at an estimated price tag of $85,000.
* Renovate the dugouts, bleachers, restrooms and other amenities at the softball field to make the facility compliant with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements. Total cost estimated at $41,000.
* Create an off-leash dog park on the south side of Big Walnut Sports Park, just north of County Road 150 South. The dog park is expected to be designed with two cells along with a five-foot-high fence and connecting sidewalks. Other amenities would include pet waste stations, benches and drinking fountains. Total cost estimated at $27,000.
* Expand the existing disc golf course by nine holes with three new holes within the existing course at the southeast corner of the park. Total cost estimated at $10,000.
So-called soft costs associated with the project, such as engineering, bidding procedures, environmental costs and construction administration, have been estimated at $32,000. Meanwhile, the contractor's mobilization and demobilization expenses are estimated at $5,000.
Weinschenk noted that the parking lot for the softball diamond would also serve the new dog park to be developed east of the ballfield.
The addition of the dog park has been partially motivated by the number of people who have been taking their dogs out to the sports park and letting them run loose inside the fenced fields. The designated dog area is seen as putting an end to that.
The two-cell dog park set-up can either be divided by "big dog, small dog," Weinschenk noted, or the separate sides used at alternating intervals to keep the grass and ground in good condition as long as possible.
The local matching portion of the grant would be covered by $10,000 from the Park Department budget and the donation of land (valued at $200,000) to the city by the Big Walnut Sports Park Board of Directors.
The Park Board Thursday night approved a motion for board president John Hennette to sign the Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant agreement after it has been reviewed and approved by City Attorney Laurie Hardwick.