Old Town Lake project moving along

Photos by Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald
Construction crews work to clear a new 1-mile trail around Old Town Lake in Ferdinand on Tuesday. They will also renovate the old pump house into a picnic shelter and new bathrooms will be built.

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — Ferdinand Park Board President Matt Weyer hears a lot of excitement around town when the Old Town Lake project comes up.

The project is putting a trail around the Old Town Lake on Ferdinand’s east side. It’s a project that has been on the minds of town officials for several years and finally got underway in June, with phase one finishing up around the end of 2019.

“It has been going well,” Weyer said of the project. “We’re a little behind schedule [due to rain] but not tremendously.”

Phase one will put a 1-mile trail around the lake and repave the driveway leading onto the property. The bulk of the trail will be made of gravel repurposed from the town’s 23rd Street project, but a few portions of the trail will be paved.

Seufert Construction of Ferdinand won the roughly $435,000 project. The project is funded through a $200,000 matching grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Land and Water Conservation Fund, with the town covering the rest either in materials that qualify as a match for the grant or in funds.

Construction started at Old Town Lake in Ferdinand in June.

So far, construction crews have cleared the path the trail will follow and finished the subgrading for the trail. Some of the gravel has been laid as well.

“It actually looks like a trail now,” Weyer said.

Next on the schedule are the bridges along the trail, paving the parking area and finishing up the trail.

The Old Town Lake once served as a water source for the town, and the pump house that once operated the pumps that propelled water from the lake into town still stands on the property, though it is inoperable. Today, the town gets its water from Patoka Lake, and the Old Town Lake has become a popular recreation spot for fishermen and kayakers.

Old Town Lake in Ferdinand is currently closed due to construction.

The park is closed during construction, but the work is expected to finish up either toward the end of this year or early next year. The park will reopen at that time. While town officials understand citizens’ excitement and curiosity about the project, they are asking people to stay out of the area until it reopens.

“We just can’t have people there for safety’s sake,” Weyer said.

Once phase one is complete, the park board hopes to move straight into phase two, which will convert the old pump house to an open-air shelter and add restrooms, a kayak launch and a fishing pier. The park board is fundraising to pay for those amenities. Anyone wishing to contribute can contact the Ferdinand Town Office at 812-367-2280.

Weyer is looking forward to seeing the finished product.

“It’s been a piece of property that’s been on the town’s radar for a while,” he said. “It’s exciting to be a part of it.”




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