More features, trails planned for county park


BRETZVILLE — County park board members looked at a proposed layout Wednesday for adding more camping sites and features to the park.

They have been considering ideas for the past few months, and have a goal of creating an overall park improvement plan that enhances park areas that are now used as well as utilizes wooded land the park owns to its west.

The layout, created by Dan Engelbrecht, landscape architect for Hafer Associates, was just ideas for what features the park should have, based on feedback from park board members. Anything can be changed, he explained.

“This is something for you to take home and look at again,” he said, “and give me more feedback.”

His layout includes removing most of the current RV and tent campsites, increasing the number of sites for both and moving them further into the woods. The campsites could be moved to the south end of park property, with some being clustered together for group camping, and others designed as individual sites. Most of the RV campsites would move south and would be located around a new road; some RV sites would be left at the current location, but redesigned. Walking and biking trails would also be added in the woods, and bath houses would be added. Superintendent Bob Gress added that utility updates may need to be considered to handle more camping sites.

New features designed to attract more visitors would be placed on land near the park’s entry and just east of the park’s loop road. A big shelterhouse with a nearby splash park and multi-use courts is being proposed in Engelbrecht’s design, along with a big centralized playground. He added that a smaller playground specifically for toddlers could also be added.

With the new camp sites and park features, a new road is being proposed to connect the features and sites to the current loop road through land currently used for disc golf to connect to Fairgrounds Road. The disc golf course can be redesigned to accommodate the road, Engelbrecht said. And a Dubois County Park sign could be placed near the road’s connection to Fairgrounds Road, he said.

Some smaller parking lots and restrooms would be placed near some of the features for visitors. And more individual picnic tables could be placed on the east side of the park’s property near Fairgrounds Road.

The design also includes an enclosed event center on the park’s southeast side, south of Reflection Lake. But board members said the center is one of the lower priority projects, in comparison to the rest of the improvements.

Board members said they were happy with the ideas overall. But they will review the design and email changes to Engelbrecht. They will meet at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at the 4-H Fairgrounds to continue their review. An official proposal will be presented to the board in September; that meeting date has not yet been set.

“I like what I see,” board President Christine Prior said. “It’s just…”

“How do we get to this?” board Secretary Jane Betz said, finishing Prior’s thought.

With that, funding ideas were discussed. Lisa Gehlhausen of the Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission told the board about two federally funded grants the park could apply for. Recreational Trails Grant program could provide up to $150,000, and requires a 20 percent match from the county, which would apply for the grant. The park board could apply for up to $200,000 though the Land Water Conservation Grant program, but that requires a 100 percent match.

Other funding ideas, as well as a estimate of the improvements cost, will be discussed at the Aug. 22 meeting.

Meanwhile, the lease the park board has with the county for the park land needs to be updated. The board has a 99-year lease that was enacted in the 1960s, but it has not been updated to include land the county has since acquired west and southeast of the park. The lease needs to be amended to include the land, County Attorney Art Nordhoff said earlier this week at the Dubois County Commissioners meeting. Nordhoff plans to work on the amendment.

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