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Wed, Aug 27, 2014 07:01 PM
Issue of August 20, 2014
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Lake may be in works for SH Park


March 19, 2014 | 08:56 AM

Harrison County Parks Supt. Rand Heazlitt requested $50,000 Monday night for a feasibility study to add a 36- to 40-acre lake at South Harrison Park near Elizabeth.

"It'll be a real game-changer for the area," Heazlitt said.

Heazlitt said one of the primary objectives of the parks board is to revamp, revitalize and redevelop South Harrison Park.

"We want to make it a premiere park," he said.

He said South Harrison is the only park the county owns with camping availability (the county operates Buffalo Trace Park near Palmyra, which has camp sites, on a lease basis from the town).

The lake, which would be freshwater fed by damming Mosquito Creek, will not be circular in nature but will have many fingers and, hopefully, would be a great place for anglers.

"It'll be 30 feet deep in the middle," Heazlitt said.

For size reference, the lake at Buffalo Trace is about 30 acres.

The lake will make the property much more attractive for not only campers, but also for baseball and softball leagues, he added. The park has an $850,000 baseball complex, shelter houses, a pool and an astronomy observatory.

Heazlitt said the possible area for the lake is completely wooded, so some revenue may be generated back from the timber clearing.

Commissioner Jim Klinstiver said the opportunity to camp on or near the lake will be a big draw.

"It goes like this: man, fire, water," he said.

Klinstiver also advised Heazlitt to speak with Alan Pursell of The Nature Conservancy, which owns adjacent land.

The board passed the request, not to exceed $50,000, to the county council for consideration.

Speaking of lakes, the board also passed along an additional appropriation for $7,800 to be used to treat the lake at Buffalo Trace Park for weeds.

In other park business, Heazlitt informed the board that the Bicentennial Nature Trust selected the Morvin's Landing project to move forward to the land acquisition stage of the purchase.

"A number of representatives talked about how great of a project it was," Heazlitt said.

The area is most famously known as the site where Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan and his raiders crossed into Indiana during the Civil War (making it a stop on the historic Morgan's Raid Trail). But the history is not limited to Morgan. Henry Heth and many of the county's early settlers used Morvin's Landing as a crossing point from Kentucky. Heth helped establish the town of Corydon. The site was also a part of the underground railroad and was a ferry point up until 1966 when the Matthew E. Welsh Bridge was constructed.

The plan is to make the 93-acre property into a preserve, with the majority of the land still to be farmed. Historical markers and trails will eventually be added.

The Bicentennial Nature Trust was created to preserve and protect important conservation and recreation areas throughout Indiana by matching donations of land or dollars. Property acquired with the trust becomes part of the public trust to ensure that the land is protected for future generations of Hoosiers to use and enjoy.

The county will pay $97,000 for the purchase, while the remainder of the cost will be picked up by the nature trust and a matching grant from the Harrison County Community Foundation.

Twitter: @rossschulz

  1. print email
    Lake at SH Park
    March 20, 2014 | 08:59 AM

    SH Park is by far one of the best in the county. A lake will do nothing less than make it better. I have camped there with Boy Scouts and used the observatory. Henry Sipes ran this at the time and it was amazing what he could show us with the telescope there. My only suggestion would be to put a significant distance and vegetation between primitive and electrified camping areas. The noise of RVs can sometimes interrupt the tranquillity of primitive camping.

    Straight Shooter
  2. print email
    March 20, 2014 | 09:35 AM

    It's high time they spent some money in the southern part of the county.

  3. print email
    Lake
    March 20, 2014 | 11:17 AM

    I really like the idea of a lake in the park, but damming Mosquito Creek? What impact would that have on other land owners who might enjoy that creek? The environmental impact etc.

    If the creek would be dammed just to fill it and then cleared I might be ok with it, but don't take away Mosquito Creek to build a lake!


    JWLaconia
  4. print email
    Agreed
    March 20, 2014 | 11:18 AM

    I live in the northern part of the county, and it seems that the southern portion of the county often gets neglected. In some ways, that may be a blessing to them, but in others, it may feel like they get the short end of the stick. A little balance would be good.

  5. print email
    South Harrison Lake
    March 21, 2014 | 11:13 AM

    I am not from the southern part of Harrison County but I was so pleased when I saw this article. The southern part of Harrison County has sit back and watched as millions of riverboat dollars has been spent all over Harrison County, and they have been patient. This is a real opportunity to invest in that area. The addition of the lake and re-development of the park will be a step in the right direction to begin economic development in that area. With this addition and the new park at Mauckport someone is seeing the value in starting to invest in Southern Harrison County. Great idea, keep more coming.

    Cindy
  6. print email
    March 23, 2014 | 11:03 AM

    The lake would have no effect on Mosquito Creek. Mosquito Creek is not one creek. It consists of numerous branches. Where the lake would go would be the very beginning of one branch. At this point you would not even realize it is creek most of the year.

  7. print email
    Great
    March 23, 2014 | 02:33 PM

    This is exciting news. This will be a big boost for the area and that park. I cant believe this may become a reality finally. Way to go!


    Sherry
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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 1-812-738-2211 email