Old Town Lake reopens with new trail

Photos by Cheyenne Boone/The Herald
Felicia Buechler, her husband, Vaughn, and their daughter, Aubrey, 5, all of Ferdinand, walk the 1-mile trail around Old Town Lake in Ferdinand on Saturday. "We've been looking forward to the park opening," Vaughn said.

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — People in Ferdinand had a new place to celebrate the Fourth of July over the weekend.

After a year of closure while construction crews built a walking trail around the lake, Old Town Lake reopened Friday. In addition to the trail, the lake now has paved parking areas and a shelter house.

“I know a lot of people are excited for it,” said Ferdinand Park Board President Matt Weyer.

Talk about updating the Old Town Lake property — located on East 14th Street near Monastery Immaculate Conception — began in the 1990s before the park board placed the area on its five-year plan in 2001. The project kept getting pushed back, until 2016 when the board decided to move forward with the project and applied for a $200,000 matching grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Land and Water Conservation Fund. The board won the grant, and in 2018, presented plans for the project to the Ferdinand Town Council. The total cost of phase one of the project was $435,000.

While most of the work in phase one is complete, Weyer said a few minor improvements will be made in the coming months, including the addition of signage.

Old Town Lake opened to the public on Friday in Ferdinand. Construction at the lake began in June 2019 and phase one of the renovations are now complete with a 1-mile trail around the lake and a shelter house.

Phase two of the project will add a restroom and storage building, a fishing pier, and a kayak and boat ramp. It is estimated to cost $125,000. The park board is ramping up fundraising efforts to cover the cost. Those efforts kicked off with a $50,000 grant from the Dubois County Community Foundation.

“That’s helping kick-start our plans for a restroom,” Weyer said.

Going into the opening weekend, Weyer thanked everyone involved in bringing the project to fruition, including designers from Universal Design in Ferdinand, crews with Seufert Construction of Ferdinand and all the town staff and officials who played a part over the years.

“It certainly took a village to build this lake over the years,” Weyer said.

The park board plans to host a ribbon-cutting and community event at Old Town Lake to ceremonially open the park as COVID-19 allows. Plans for the event are in the early stages.

Emma Wilson, 11, of Ferdinand, her brother, Kris of Ferdinand, his fiancé, Elizabeth Letvin of Boston, and Kris and Emma's mom, Tammy of Ferdinand, walk along the 1-mile trail at Old Town Lake in Ferdinand on Saturday.



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