Land deal would add to new park

By TONY RAAP
Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — The city’s newest park may become bigger.

The City of Jasper could acquire 25 acres of wooded land east of the old Jasper Country Club, the former golf course purchased by the city in April and renamed The Parklands last month. The cost of the additional acreage north of 15th Street and west of Newton Street would be split between the state and the Dubois County Community Foundation, which pools local donations from individuals, businesses and nonprofits into an endowment.

As part of the land deal, the city would become the property’s trustee as long as the land remains a nature area. The move ties into the city’s plans to turn the former golf facility grounds’ 58 acres into a nature park.

“It would be an extension of what we already have,” Jasper Mayor Terry Seitz said.

Greater Jasper Consolidated Schools has expressed interest in buying some of The Parklands from the city. The southwestern edge of The Parklands is adjacent to the eastern edge of Jasper High School property near the athletic complex north of 15th Street.

Seitz said discussions between the city and the school corporation are ongoing. The Greater Jasper School Board has discussed the potential need for a new elementary school facility, but school officials have not formally named The Parklands area as a possible site. Greater Jasper superintendent Tracy Lorey could not be reached this morning.  

“There is still nothing concrete that has come out of that,” Seitz said of discussions between the city and school corporation. But he added, “I think that is something that will work itself out.”

The state and community foundation want to buy two tracts of land: About 20 acres owned by the Nordhoff and Gramelspacher families, and about 5 acres that belong to Dr. Thomas Eversman. Both parcels of land border the eastern side of the former nine-hole golf course the city now owns.

The state would put up about $300,000 to buy the land. That money would come from the Bicentennial Nature Trust and the Indiana Heritage Trust, both of which are run by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The community foundation is seeking about $200,000 in pledges from private donors. Once the money is pledged, the foundation will begin negotiating with the landowners.

If the deal goes through, it would create “a mini-Central Park in the center of Jasper,” said Brad Ward, the community foundation’s CEO, referring to the sprawling urban park in Manhattan.

Ward said city officials brought the idea to the community foundation in October. Everyone agreed the land would fit into the city’s plans for The Parklands.   

Last month, Seitz told the city park board the community foundation would apply for money from the Bicentennial Nature Trust.

The country club, which was owned by Club Management of Dubois County, closed in December 2012. City officials in January 2013 decided to buy the property for more than $1 million; the purchase was finalized in April.   

After the country club closed, the land was sold in pieces. The Hanselman family, which also owns the Schnitzelbank restaurant in Jasper, bought the clubhouse and turned it into the banquet facility KlubHaus 61.

Contact Tony Raap at traap@dcherald.com.




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