Smile and be on your best behavior if you plan to visit Robe-Ann Park Thursday afternoon.
You never know who may be watching, and a $200,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant just might hang in the balance when a grant judging team pays a visit to the Greencastle park.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and LWCF judging team of Bob Bronson, Susan Otsby and Jay Keith is scheduled to tour the park, inspect amenities and review the city's grant application Thursday afternoon, Park Director Rod Weinschenk said.
The City of Greencastle is one of four Indiana communities that have applied for a portion of $750,000 in 2012 LWCF grant money available during this funding cycle.
Weinschenk believes the IDNR will fund two or three projects with those available funds, giving Greencastle a reasonable shot at securing the $200,000 in funding it is seeking for park upgrades.
Grant recipients will not know the outcome of their application until sometime this fall.
The city is hoping to use the grant funds to help make a reality of the Civic League's proposed splash park project for the kiddie pool area at the aquatic center. Possibly as much as $150,000 of the LWCF grant would go directly toward the splash park project.
Overall, the splash pad could run in the $250,000-$300,000 range, which would include a $12,000 endowment to be set aside for funding the continued 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 local match will be needed to secure the DNR grant, and could come from 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 project.
"This is a great way to take $200,000 and stretch it into a $400,000 project," Weinschenk has said.
The Park Board-approved grant application also includes resurfacing and reconfiguration of the tennis courts at Robe-Ann, moving the basketball courts and creating a meditation/quiet area and a rain garden within the park.
The tennis court resurfacing, estimated at $38,500, is considered the secondary item in the grant proposal. Repairs to the tennis courts will address cracks in addition to resurfacing and repainting the lines.
Recent examination of the tennis court surface revealed large cracks that have evolved into a tripping hazard for players. The cracks also easily collect dirt and have become a haven for weeds and other unwanted vegetation.
Simultaneously under the proposal, the westernmost tennis court would be converted to a fenced basketball court, reducing the number of park tennis courts from five to four.
The existing nearby basketball goals would be taken down and those courts turned totally into parking space for adjacent shelterhouse No. 5 and the softball diamond.
The grant proposal also calls for creation of a nature viewing and reflection area, or as Weinschenk has called it, "a scenic overlook."
Complete with a butterfly garden, trees, benches and a concrete sidewalk, the site is viewed as a new park amenity. Its creation is estimated in excess of $2,500.
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 running into the storm sewer. The rain garden development is estimated as a $6,000 project.