Civic League to make its splash in December

Friday, November 4, 2011

By the time December arrives, the Greencastle Civic League should know what it is getting the community for Christmas.

The Civic League has been exploring the possibility of creating a splash park at Robe-Ann Park, and by the time the Greencastle Park Board has its next meeting on Thursday, Dec. 1, most of the details should be ironed out.

"We are very excited to be moving forward with our signature project, the Splash Pad," Civic League member Suzanne Masten told the Park Board Thursday night at its November meeting.

"Now that we have identified the location (of the splash park) at the aquatic center, we have been working diligently with four contractors and water feature companies," Masten added.

The Civic League committee focusing on the splash park project has selected the top three bidders and plans to present that information to the Civic League's general membership in a meeting on Monday.

Masten said she expects some quick subsequent action.

"I do anticipate that we will vote on a specific contractor and be able to move forward immediately," she told the Park Board.

The Civic League then plans to meet with the chosen contractor over the next couple of weeks to create a budget, obtain visuals of the proposed splash park and forge a detailed plan of action.

"We also have a committee working very hard at identifying available grants and fundraising opportunities," Masten added.

The Civic League committee will then compile all the information to share with Park Director Rod Weinschenk, City Attorney Laurie Hardwick and others in a review of the organization's plan.

"We would then like to come to the December Park Board meeting and present our vision of the splash pad at the aquatics center," Masten said.

The Civic League has envisioned the splash park as a "signature project" designed to benefit the community, similar in nature to the Emerald Palace playground effort it spearheaded several years ago.

The Civic League plans to undertake the fundraising for the project. At previous meetings its members have said the group also hopes to create a fund for ongoing operation and maintenance of the splash park.

Essentially, a spray park is an aquatic facility that lacks an actual pool of water but offers such features as water spray nozzles and jets, dump buckets and even small water slides.

Meanwhile, Park Director Weinschenk reminded everyone that Robe-Ann and Jaycee parks are now technically closed for the season. The park season is established as April 1- Oct. 31.

However, with Park Board approval, the main gate to Robe-Ann Park off Bloomington Street is being kept open as long as the weather doesn't make the main interior roadway impassable. A "no-outlet" sign has been posted at the main gate.

Entrances off Wood and Tennessee streets, however, will be closed to vehicles until April 1, as will the main gate at Jaycee Park. Residents can still gain access on foot, however.

In other business, the Park Board:

-- Agreed to continue Youth Basketball registration for grades 1-6 through Nov. 15 at $50 per player (and waiving the $5 late fee that had been stipulated after Oct. 28).

-- Approved a new program, Brickmania Thanksgiving Gobbler, scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21 at City Hall. Participants will build a Thanksgiving Gobbler from a Lego kit. Entry fee is $9. Information is available at 653-3395.

-- Heard the Ballroom Dancing Class is on hold with four couples enrolled and others interested. The Park Department is trying to work out a suitable night for all interested parties to attend the Greencastle School of Ballroom Dancing.

-- Learned that Walking Wednesdays has concluded for the fall with more than 60 walkers per weekly session. The Park Department plans to continue the effort in conjunction with the Putnam County Health Coalition and would like to offer a winter session if an available location can be found for early-evening walkers each Wednesday.

-- Learned that Keith Cooper, a Life Scout with Greencastle BSA Troop 99, is undertaking his Eagle Scout project by rejuvenating trails at Jaycee Park. He has repaired and replaced footbridges and also hopes to construct a picnic table in a remote area and carve three new directional signs to be put at entrances to the trails.

-- Approved use of the Albin Pond Trail for the Family Connection Walk and 5K Run on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Park Board President John Hennette was joined for the 20-minute meeting at City Hall Thursday by board members Tim Trigg and Beva Miller. Board member Russ Evans was absent.

Also on hand were Park Director Weinschenk, Assistant Director Troy Scott, City Council liaison Phyllis Rokicki and ex-officio members Wes Wilson of the Library Board and Monica Fennell of the Greencastle School Board.

The Park Board's next regular session is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 at City Hall.

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