By OLIVIA INGLE at Dubois County Herald
HUNTINGBURG — Plans are moving forward for a proposed Northside Park near the new Hunters Crossing subdivision, which is along the west side of North Chestnut Street between 12th and 17th streets in Huntingburg.
The Park Board passed a resolution Monday evening guaranteeing a $200,000 match to a $200,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund Program grant for the park. The board’s resolution is contingent upon the Common Council also passing a resolution at its meeting next week to fund $39,070 of the park board’s match.
The Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission is working on the grant proposal, which is due June 1. The grant is a federal grant, but is from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
If the grant is secured, the park board would have $400,000 to spend on the new park, which would include a 515-foot trail, parking, an ADA-accessible playground, benches, bike racks and a pond.
“This park came about as part of the Stellar program,” said Huntingburg Mayor Denny Spinner. “I see this grant as a starting point for this park.”
The park board hopes to get the land for the park donated. It is now owned by Boxer Girl which is developing Hunters Crossing, a subdivision project that is part of the city’s Stellar Communities designation. The proposed land for the park is 3.96 acres at the back of Hunters Crossing. The park board also hopes to get 1.57 acres to the north donated, as well, which would be added to the park in the future.
“The property to the north allows some connectivity for those not in the subdivision,” said Lisa Gehlhausen, executive director of the Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission.
While the park board would have three to five years to develop the Northside Park under the grant, the long-term goal is to have a trail that connects the future Northside Park to Charles C. Niehaus Memorial Park, located at Chestnut Street and U.S. 64. That connecting trail would be part of the Heritage Trail, one of the city’s Stellar projects. The Heritage Trail will be a path designed for pedestrians and bicyclists that will ultimately connect the city’s north and south sides. The trail also includes a new railroad overpass that will connect 14th Street and Styline Drive.
“I’m definitely on board,” Park Board member Mande Keusch said of the new park project. “The first thing I wanted to do when I started on the park board was get a park on the north side.”
Parks and Recreation Department Director Larry Altstadt said the goal is to have at least the construction of the park’s playground complete by the end of next year.
While the board has preliminary designs of the proposed Northside Park, members still want public input on the project.
“We want to get the community engaged in the elements and design,” Spinner said. “This is the first new park in Huntingburg in some time and we want to make sure we develop a long-range plan for it.”
The Northside Park isn’t the only proposed park for the city. Construction is expected to start this summer on Market Street Park, which will be located east of Old Town Hall between Third and Fourth streets. The park will include walkways, swings, pavilions and seating.