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Splash park, tennis, basketball courts in grant proposal

Monday, June 11, 2012

A grant application for $200,000 in 2012 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant money will do more than help develop a proposed splash park at Robe-Ann Park.

The City of Greencastle Parks and Recreation Department is one of four Indiana entities to submit a grant proposal for the latest round of LWCF funding, Park Director Rod Weinschenk said.

Reportedly, the state has a total of $750,000 to apportion during this funding cycle.

"So we have a good shot," Weinschenk told the Park Board at its June meeting, while reasoning that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources would probably fund two or three projects with those available funds.

State officials are expected to make a site visit within the next month, Weinschenk said.

The primary target of the grant application is creation of a splash park, as proposed by the Greencastle Civic League, at the city pool. Possibly as much as $150,000 of the LWCF grant would go directly toward the splash park project.

Overall, the project could run in the $250,000-$300,000 range, which would include a $12,000 endowment to be set aside for funding the maintenance and operation of the spray park.

The Civic League's goal is a summer 2013 opening for the admission-free splash park.

A $200,000 match will be needed for the DNR grant, which could include leveraging other grants and donations, as well as any in-kind pledges, particularly for such services as demolition, concrete and even general contracting duties on the splash park.

However, the Park Board-approved grant application also includes tennis court resurfacing and reconfiguration, moving of the basketball courts and creation of a meditation/quiet area and a rain garden within Robe-Ann Park.

Resurfacing of the tennis courts is considered the secondary item in the grant proposal and is estimated at $38,500.

Recent examination of the tennis court surface has revealed a number of large cracks that have evolved into a tripping hazard. The cracks also have collected dirt and have become a home for weeds and other unwanted vegetation.

Repairs to the tennis courts will address the cracks, resurface the courts and repaint the lines.

Meanwhile, the westernmost tennis court would be converted to a fenced basketball court, reducing the number of park tennis courts from five to four.

Under the proposal, the existing basketball goals would be taken down and the courts would be turned totally into parking space for adjacent shelterhouse No. 5 and the softball diamond. That is what typically what occurs on a nightly basis anyway.

Moving the basketball goals into the tennis court is seen as alleviating congestion and safety concerns in the parking lot, as well as eliminating the age-old issue of basketballs bouncing off parked cars and causing damage and/or ill will.

The grant proposal also calls for the creation of a nature viewing and reflection area, or as Weinschenk has called it, "a scenic overlook."

With trees, a butterfly garden, benches and a concrete sidewalk, the site is seen as a new park amenity, estimated in excess of $2,500 for its creation.

Also, a rain garden with native plantings is seen as providing a natural filter for splash-out and rainwater run-off from the splash park area prior to the water hitting the storm sewer. The rain garden development is seen as a $6,000 project.

"This is a great way to take $200,000 and stretch it into a $400,000 project," Weinschenk noted.

It could be as late as fall before 2012 LWCF grant recipients are notified of their award.

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I think it makes more sense to look at putting a couple of batting cages on part of the tennis court ,because there are alot more softball players than tennis players.

-- Posted by dandygrandy on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 8:44 AM

I agree with the idea for batting cages. You have to travel to Terre Haute or Indianapolis to use batting cages now. There are several softball and baseball teams in Greencastle, manhy more of these than basketball and tennis combined. This could also be used as a way to generate a little revenue.

-- Posted by greencastle31 on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 10:41 AM

I am at the park quite frequently, and there is minimum useage of the tennis courts. Turn them into something more usable.

-- Posted by dandygrandy on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 2:17 PM

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