3 Jasper parks set to close

Daniel Vasta/The Herald
Swing set at Northwest Suburban Park in Jasper earlier this year.


JASPER — Three seldomly used Jasper parks will be stripped of their equipment and decommissioned in the not-too-distant future.

Following discussions at meetings and the collection of public input, the Jasper Park Board moved on Tuesday to cease city maintenance and upkeep at Uebelhor Park, Northwest Suburban Park and State Police Park.

These decisions were months in the making. The park board decided in June to look into decommissioning several parks to save department resources.

“All three of those parks that we discussed today and decided to close are seldomly used,” said Dana Schnarr, a park board member who led an analysis of the parks. “And again, we put surveys out to the public and just really tried to have an open dialogue with the public.”

Through that outreach, Schnarr said “we just really didn’t get anybody stating that they used those parks frequently.”

Uebelhor Park is not — and never has been — owned by the city, but it has been city-maintained for years. The park is owned by an LLC that is connected to a local family. It will be decommissioned by the end of the year.

It is located on North Pine Crest Drive on the city’s northwest side, near the Jasper Pet Clinic. Its only feature is a baseball field — an amenity that is present at several other parks throughout the city.

Daniel Vasta/The Herald
Baseball field home plate at Uebelhor Park in Jasper earlier this year.

Northwest Suburban Park is located on Maple Street, near Jasper Middle School and the site of the future Jasper Elementary School. Schnarr said the new playground at the elementary school will be usable by adjacent property owners.

Since the Northwest Suburban property will no longer be used as a recreational park, its ownership will revert back to the families that deeded it to the city years ago.

Northwest Suburban Park’s aging equipment includes a small swing set and a dome climber. City operations will officially cease at the property by April 1, 2020.

The State Police Park is located on Sunset Drive, on land directly west of the Indiana State Police Jasper Post. That 3-acre property is the only one of the three decommissioned parks that the city owns outright with no restrictions, and what becomes of the area is yet to be determined.

“If it is the case that the city decides they no longer want to maintain this as a park, then it’s really available for consideration for redevelopment,” City Attorney Renee Kabrick said before the board voted to decommission it.

Its future could be determined by entities like the Jasper Board of Public Works and Safety, the Jasper Common Council, as well as entities like the city’s redevelopment and economic development commissions.

The State Police Park will also officially close by April 1, 2020. Its amenities include equipment that is available at the still-operating Buehler Park, which is just a couple blocks away.

Schnarr explained that other parks the park board discussed decommissioning could be addressed in the future. Those include 34th Street Park, Seng Park and Hochgesang Park.

“Those we will likely discuss again at a later date,” she said, noting that closing them would be a more complex task due to the fact that multiple shareowners have a stake in them.

The park board also:

• Heard from Carrie Dick that October was a “pretty outstanding” month at the Older Americans Center. Numbers were up by about 408 participants from October 2018.

• Heard that in October, the Buffalo Trace Golf Course brought in $30,168.81 in revenue, which was down about $900 from October 2018. The course itself is now up by about $6,000 when comparing this season to this time last year.

• Approved rate restructuring at Buffalo Trace Golf Course, as well as various other park department facilities.

• Approved accepting a contract extension with Jasper Golf Director John Bertges. The extension will run through 2021.

• Opened quotes for a 16-foot trailer. Quotes were opened from Meyer Truck Equipment of Jasper, Hopf Outdoor Power of Jasper and KARS of Huntingburg. The low quote came from KARS, was valued at $3,725 and was approved.

• Opened quotes for golf course fertilizers. They were taken under advisement.

• Approved the seeking of quotes for mowers that will be used at Buffalo Trace and the Parklands of Jasper, as well as a truck for the maintenance department.

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