Old Town Lake to reopen next month


FERDINAND — After just over a year of construction, Ferdinand’s Old Town Lake is about to reopen with some new amenities, with a few more in the works.

Phase one of the revitalization project — which added a walking trail around the lake, a shelter house and a paved parking area — is wrapping up with some final asphalt work, and Park Board President Matt Weyer said he expects to hold a soft opening in early July.

The first phase of the project began in June 2019 and cost roughly $435,000. It was 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. A donation covered the cost of constructing the shelter house.

Phase two is estimated to cost $125,000 and it’s only in the fundraising stage. It will include adding a restroom and storage building, a fishing pier, and a kayak and boat ramp.

“Those are the big nuggets that we want to push for in phase II,” Park Board President Matt Weyer said.

If additional funds are raised, additional paved areas, lighting and landscaping will be added as well.

Discussions about revitalizing the Old Town Lake began in the 1990s, and the area became part of the park board’s five-year plan in 2001. The project kept getting pushed back. Then, in 2016 the board decided to move forward with the project and applied for the DNR grant. The board won the grant, and in 2018, presented plans for the project to the Ferdinand Town Council. During the planning process, funding constraints led to the project being split into phases.

Prior to the project, the 40-acre area was open to the public, but couldn’t support many activities. It was mostly used for fishing. Now, the park will be able to support a slew of nature-based activities, and town leaders hope it will become a destination for the town’s nature lovers.

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