Board hopes to give county park its own identity

Graphic provided
Some of the park improvement ideas discussed Tuesday include adding more camping sitesm picnic sites, trails, a splash park, an indoor gathering center and adding restrooms.


BRETZVILLE — The Dubois County Park needs to have its own distinct identity, designers told the county’s Park Board Tuesday.

“We need a better identity, separate from the (Dubois County) 4-H Fairgrounds,” said Dan Engelbrecht, landscape architect for Hafer Associates.

The board hired Hafer to help compile ideas to accomplish that separate identity and to add and improve amenities at the park. Engelbrecht and Hafer President Jeff Justice talked to board members about their ideas for the park and compiled those ideas into three design layouts for the board to review. The designs are just concepts, Engelbrecht said.

Some of the improvement ideas discussed Tuesday include adding more camping sites for recreation vehicles — which the board knows is needed — and tents; adding more picnic sites, including sites for single families to use; adding more trails, including paved trails and rugged trails that go in undisturbed woods; adding a splash park; converting the tennis court into a multi-use court; adding an indoor gathering center and adding restrooms.

Engelbrecht said the park could have areas that are specified for day users, those people who come to visit the park but don’t stay overnight, and areas for campers. He noted that the tent camping currently available is located near the road in the park. “When I drove through, I felt like I was intruding on their privacy,” he said of the tent campers.

The park owns wooded acreage just west of the park that is not yet being utilized. Board members like the idea of adding new campgrounds and trails in that area and keeping to the east the other amenities that would be used by both campers and day visitors. Justice agreed with having the camping areas in the back section of the park, to make them more secluded.

“No one has that around here,” he said. “That is your bread and butter. That is what makes this park unique.”

Board member Judy Olinger said that she’d like the park to have a separate entrance from the one shared with the 4-H Fairgrounds. She also wants the chain fence in front of the park to be removed.

“It’s ugly,” she said. “It looks like an industrial site.”

One of the concepts included a second entrance into the park from the fairgrounds. An enclosed facility that would overlook Reflection Lake could be accessed from the road, Engelbrecht said. And signage with the park name could be located at the road’s entrance, he said. Board members added that directional signs to the park’s amenities would also be helpful.

The board liked the second entrance to the park as well as the enclosed facility, which could be rented for events, they noted.

Board members said they would review the ideas and email any other ideas to Engelbrecht. They decided to meet again at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 8, to refine the ideas and at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 22, to determine their preferred concepts. Those meetings will be held at the Clover Pavilion building at the 4-H Fairgrounds.

A final plan will be presented in September. That meeting has not yet been set.

“It’s time for the Dubois County Park to come into its own,” Board President Christine Prior said. “Instead of piecemealing this, let’s have a real plan, so that we have an identity and we are a destination for our residents.”

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