Jasper awarded state grant for labyrinth

Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — The City of Jasper has been awarded funding from the state for a labyrinth that will be placed near the Riverwalk.

Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann announced today that Jasper and five other communities will receive funding from the Place Based Investment Fund.

The grants range from $35,000 to $50,000 and will fund parks, public venues and other quality of place projects.

“Community gathering places are vital centers of activity for Hoosier cities and towns,” Ellspermann said. “Our team looks forward to seeing these innovative projects completed and the long-term benefits they provide to the winning communities.”

Jasper applied for $35,000 to construct a labyrinth in the grassy area north of the entrance to the Riverwalk’s parking lot at Fourth Street. A labyrinth looks like a maze, but is a single winding path that leads to the center. Visitors can walk along the path to meditate or exercise.

“We appreciate being the recipient of the state grant for this locally-originated project along our Riverfront,” Jasper Mayor Terry Seitz said this morning. “We’re grateful for the Jasper Desk Foundation and Dubois County Community Foundation for their support and look forward to moving along with the development.”

The Jasper Desk Foundation donated $27,000 to the Redevelop Old Jasper Action Coalition for that organization to work with the city on the labyrinth and the Dubois County Community Foundation is contributing $8,000 to the project. That total of $35,000 will be used as the match needed for the state grant.

“We are excited about this,” Lisa Gehlhausen, executive director of Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission, said this morning. Indiana 15 is the grant administrator for the project. She said previously that if this grant was not received, the project would have to be delayed.

The grant agreement with the state is now being prepared, Gehlhausen said. “Then we can proceed with final design and final engineering,” she said. After that, a company will be sought to construct the labyrinth. The project must be completed by December 2015. Gehlhausen expects the project to be completed well before then.

The Place Based Investment Fund program, now in its second year, is a $300,000 competitive matching grant program administered as a partnership with two offices the lieutenant governor’s office oversees: the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development.

Five other communities learned this morning that they also will receive grants: Hobart, Madison, Parke County, Hope and Wabash Marketplace.

Contact Candy Neal at cneal@dcherald.com.

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