2019 was ‘one of the better years’ for Jasper parks


JASPER — The Jasper Park Board unveiled its annual report at its monthly meeting on Tuesday afternoon, revealing that 2019 was a step in the right direction for the local department, following a down year in 2018.

“I think ... [in] 2019, we had probably one of the better years that we have had activitywise, and things of that nature,” said Ken Buck, Jasper Park Department director. “Weather was really, really bad throughout the early part, and it looks like we’re starting February again the same way we did last year, which curtailed a lot of our golfing and a lot of outdoor activities.”

But that all changed when hot weather moved in, as summer camp attendance exploded, swimming pool attendance shot up and pulled in almost $75,000 in revenue, and golfing revenue increased at Buffalo Trace.

Janessa Wolf, the department’s recreation director, detailed other highlights from the year during the meeting.

After renovations, the banquet room at the Habig Community Center was rented out seven more times in 2019 than it was in both 2017 and 2018. Bookings at the Parklands of Jasper pavilion brought in $22,011.

“It’s fantastic,” Wagner said of the Parklands usage. “And I’m already booked pretty heavily for 2020. Had a few these past couple weekends, got two this weekend. Graduation weekend, of course. It just continues to go forward.”

Also, 91% of available tickets were sold for the Spirit of Jasper train in 2019. About 86% of the riders were not from Dubois County — a number that demonstrates the tourism magnet that the rides are for the area.

The Older Americans Center had another successful year, and the Jasper Riverwalk was again used by many. Little Spruce Nature School, which is held at Camp Carnes on East Jasper Dubois Road, brought in about $3,500 in the department’s pockets.

“Which is extra money that we’ve never had before,” Buck told the board. “So, it’s really been working out. People are really happy with that.”

Buck explained after the meeting that in 2020, the department will look to work on fixing up highly-utilized, existing playgrounds; possibly adding a picnic area and splash pad shade structure; and maybe decommissioning a few more of the lower-utilized city parks. Sitework that will clean up the back nine of Buffalo Trace is also ongoing.

“We’re gonna try to maintain what we’ve got,” Buck said. “We’ve got so much now. We’re not gonna be trying to jump into anything big.”

More on DuboisCountyHerald.com