Addition planned for Market Street ParkNovember 27, 2020
By CANDY NEAL
HUNTINGBURG — An addition on the southeast end of Market Street Park will feature a fire ring plaza and places to sit around the fire.
The expansion on the Farbest Foods Commons area is being done in honor of the late Jay Houchin, who was vice president of live production at Farbest.
“He liked the outdoors,” Brad Coomer, the city’s wastewater manager and Houchin’s son-in-law, said Wednesday. “And sitting around a fire would be his thing to do.”
The Huntingburg Common Council received proposed plans and designs for the expansion at its Tuesday night meeting. Coomer requested and was named project manager for the expansion.
“I appreciate Brad taking this on,” Councilman Glen Kissling said. “It’s going to be a great attraction for the park, and I think we need to move forward.”
Along with the fire ring plaza, which will have seating around the fire pit, the space will have picnic tables under a shelter, plants and greenery, additional parking and an entryway from U.S. 231. Private investors are covering the cost for the expansion.
“I felt that this needed to be done,” Coomer said Wednesday. “It’s my position that as much as Farbest meant to Jay and as much as Farbest does for Huntingburg, my job is to make sure this happens.”
The Huntingburg Board of Public Works and Safety will also have to approve Coomer’s role. As a department superintendent, Coomer said he has more flexibility in his schedule, which will allow him to work on this project.
Farbest President Ted Seger approached the city about the project to honor Houchin during construction of Market Street Park, city Community Development Director Rachel Steckler told the council.
Houchin, who died Feb. 27, 2018, was well known at Farbest as one who would encourage others to get things done, Coomer explained, including the challenging things.
“Jay would give that look that says, 'Get this done; make it happen,'” Coomer recalled. “And that’s the way I looked at this. We have to make this happen."
To keep the plans moving forward, the council approved an agreement with Taylor Siefker Williams for the firm to plan the scope and design of the project.
The council also:
• Welcomed Steve Schwinghamer to the Huntingburg mayor position and thanked Denny Spinner for his nine years of service as mayor. Schwinghamer was sworn in Wednesday morning.
• Set a public hearing for the sale of city property at the southwest corner of 14th and Main streets for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8; that night’s meeting may also be broadcast online if City Hall is still under restricted access due to COVID-19. A developer is interested in purchasing the property. The average of two appraisals taken determined the value of the property to be $175,000. Before the city council can consider selling it to the developer for that cost, a public hearing must be held, City Attorney Phil Schneider said. The space on which the Huntingburg Event Center sign sits at the corner is already under a long-term lease, Schneider said.
• Heard from Utilities Superintendent John Reutepohler that the city received a $9,000 grant to install an electric vehicle charging station near Market Street Park. The city was part of a grant with Radius Indiana, the regional economic development group serving Dubois and seven other counties, focused on installing charging stations. Coomer said he will work with Reutepohler to integrate the station with the park expansion project.
• Approved the 2021 calendar and 2021 holiday schedule.
• Accepted an agreement for a planning grant the Indiana State Department of Health is giving for the countywide trails master plan. In the agreement, Jasper will be the main agency that will be in correspondence with the state health department.
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