Extensive improvements planned for county park

The Dubois County Park Board saw an updated layout of extensive walking trails proposed for the park Wednesday afternoon.


BRETZVILLE — More recreation vehicles (RVs) and tent campsites, sheltered picnic areas, extensive walking trails and an activity area for children are all proposed improvements for the Dubois County Park located at the Dubois County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The Dubois County Park Board saw an updated layout of the ideas Wednesday afternoon.

The multi-year park improvements plan has not been accepted officially. The finalized proposal will be presented at the park board’s regular quarterly meeting, which is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at the 4-H Fairgrounds’ Clover Pavilion building.

Cost guesstimates for the various features were given with the design on Wednesday. Adding all the new features and improving existing areas could cost between $2.2 and $2.7 million, depending on the extent of work for each project. Improving and extending the trail system could cost between, $246,000 and $314,000.

Because of the extensive changes and cost, completing everything in the plan could take 10 years or more. Per the board’s request, Dan Engelbrecht, a landscape architect for Hafer Associates, did not separate projects into phases. The board will determine the phases as they look at finances and grant funding, Dubois County Park Board President Christine Prior said.

“If we just had a menu of items, then we could pick what we thought made sense as a phase in accordance with what we have in the (park’s budgeted) account, and what grants are available to us,” Prior said.

The east side of the park grounds would have a pavilion south of the lake, picnic areas off Fairgrounds Road, and welcome signs on the road. The current gravel parking lot north of the lake would be paved and a welcome center with restrooms would sit near the lot.

“It could be a place people coming to park could go to first,” Engelbrecht told the board.

More camping sites would be on the west side of the park grounds. A road would extend west of the existing RV campsite, to add another 40 RV sites and a shelter house site. Another 37 RV sites would be south of the existing campsite and a new bath house would sit in between. About 20 tent camping sites would be placed on the south end of the park grounds, near an existing shelter house.

The shelter east of the RV sites would be renovated and have sports courts nearby for games like basketball and volleyball, Engelbrecht explained.

An activity zone with features for children to enjoy would lie south of the sports courts. The area would a playground for 2-to-5-year-olds and one for 6-to-12-year-olds, a sand play area and a small splash pad. The nearby shelter house would be renovated to be child-friendly with features like picnic tables lower to the ground or colorful trash cans, Engelbrecht said

The existing basketball court would be converted into a picnic patio site with a pavilion sitting nearby. Small parking lots would be near each of the specialized shelter house areas.

The park’s existing trails would be extended and new trails would be added to connect them all as an extensive trail system.

“We wanted to develop the trail system, as a primary attraction to the park,” Engelbrecht said. He designed the system so that some of the trails are easy to walk and have no hills, some are a little challenging, and others are very challenging to walk.

A bench or resting area could be added at some of the points where different trails meet and cross, Engelbrecht said.

“That’s a lot of trails, and it will require maintenance,” Park Superintendent Bob Gress said, looking at the design. “But one thing about trails, they tend to be of lower impact than other things. The camping sites ... we will have to take out some trees to accommodate those. But the trails themselves, you don’t need to do that as much.”

The board liked the design overall.

“You captured what we wanted,” Prior said.

Engelbrecht plans to put the final touches on the layout and present the final design to the board at its Oct. 9 meeting.

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