After Parklands slip, man asks city to address weirOctober 14, 2020
By ALLEN LAMAN
JASPER — He looked like the creature from the black lagoon.
David Harvey was covered in muck after slipping off a rocky weir at the Parklands of Jasper and falling into a nearby pond late last month. A few weeks after, the 74-year-old Jasper man spoke to the city’s park and recreation board about the incident and requested that the area in question be examined to prevent someone else from taking a potentially dangerous dive of their own.
“I was fortunate in that I didn’t get hurt in any way whatsoever,” Harvey said at Tuesday’s board meeting. “That’s because I fell in the pond. But if somebody were to fall and hit the cement, there’s going to be hurt.”
He explained that he slipped into the pool of water while visiting the park with a friend. A hiker for much of his life but now a self-described wobbly walker, Harvey wiped out while crossing the stone slabs and swam to shore.
After hearing Harvey speak, Ken Buck, director of the Jasper Park & Recreation Department, said he didn’t think the area in question was designed to be a path, adding that visitors don’t have to go across that particular stretch if they don’t want to. The weir is located near the pavilion and parking lot at the site; a gravel path leads to both sides of the fixture.
Harvey suggested placing signage up that warns those who might have trouble crossing it. He also suggested installing a handrail in the center of the weir.
Board President Roger Seger thanked Harvey for sharing his experience. He said the board will work with Hafer Associates of Evansville — the firm that designed the Parklands — as soon as possible to rectify the situation.
“You may not be the only one that had that concern,” Seger said to Harvey at the meeting.
Harvey does not plan to take legal action against the city. He said after the meeting that he sees that parks leadership is going to act on the situation and try to make the area safer.
“I’d prefer it to become a user-friendly crossing area than considered a liability and blocked off from the public,” he said.
The Jasper Park & Recreation Board also:
• Heard that the Older Americans Center began a soft opening on Oct. 6. The center is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. The facilities are sanitized in the window between those hours; capacity and social distancing measures are in place; and temperatures are taken when guests arrive at the site. The soft opening will continue through November.
• Heard that staff is looking into pricing for new chairs that would be placed in the Older Americans Center banquet room. The hope is to use COVID-19-related funding to purchase the chairs. The board approved seeking quotes for the chairs, if that money is available.
• Approved seeking quotes for a new weight machine for the Older Americans Center fitness room. That piece of equipment will be funded by a $1,000 grant from the Rural Electric Cooperative.
• Heard that Saturday, Oct. 24, is the 20th anniversary of the Jasper Riverwalk. A celebratory gathering with music, T-shirts and snacks will be held at the Dave Buehler Plaza from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on that day. The Dubois County Health Department has cleared the event.
• Heard that Halloween at Central Green will be held on Sunday, Oct. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. Unlike previous years, games will not be held at the park, but more trick-or-treating stations will be set up around the fountain and in the grassy area at the site. The city has received approval from the health department and is working with the entity to continue to update guidelines for the gathering.
• Heard that Buffalo Trace Golf Course experienced a record month during September when it brought in about $93,000.
• Opened quotes for a new 1-ton dump truck that will be used for park maintenance. Bob Luegers of Jasper submitted a bid valued at $35,150 after a trade-in; Uebelhor & Sons of Jasper submitted a quote of $34,039 after a trade-in; Sternberg Automotive Group submitted a quote of $30,559, after-trade in. The low quote from Sternberg was approved.
• Approved the purchase of a John Deere Gator utility vehicle that will be used at the Jasper Youth Sports Complex at a price of $5,013.29, after trade-in.
• Approved a quote for roof work at the Buffalo Trace Golf Course pro shop. The cost is $10,762.20, and those funds will be used to put a coat of acrylic paint on the roof and fix rusted spots.
• Approved the purchase of a grappling hook attachment from Kenney Machinery of Indianapolis for a Dingo mini-digger machine that will be used to help with the clearing of the back nine on Buffalo Trace. The cost was $3,082.80.
• Approved seeking quotes for a snowplow that will be used on the one-ton truck the board approved purchasing from Sternberg Automotive Group.
• Approved the hiring of a pro shop ranger at Buffalo Trace Golf Course.
• Heard that unexpected drainage work is required to convert the Bohnert Park tennis courts into pickleball courts. Rob Gutgsell, assistant director of the parks department, explained that it will take between six and eight months before new asphalt can be laid at the site. The board approved a not-to-exceed quote of $8,060 for the necessary drainage work.
• Heard that Ken Buck will retire from the department at the end of the year after 44 years of service with the department.
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