|Tue, Sep 02, 2014 02:53 PM
April 02, 2014 | 09:43 AM
Harrison County Parks director Rand Heazlitt presented the request for a feasibility study for a lake at South Harrison Park near Elizabeth to the Harrison County Council last week, after it was previously approved by the board of commissioners.
After soliciting quotes for the project, the cost for the request was significantly reduced from $50,000 to $27,500.
The council will vote on it at its next meeting, which will be Monday, April 14, at 7 p.m.
The lake idea has received nothing but positive responses in this newspaper's feedback section, www.corydondemocrat.com. Heazlitt also hasn't received anything but positive comments.
"I have yet to have a negative comment," Heazlitt said Monday. "I think there are always financial concerns, but I have had no negative feedback to the concept itself."
If approved and deemed feasible, the lake will be about 36 to 40 acres in size and will be fresh-water fed by damming a branch of Mosquito Creek.
Heazlitt said one of the primary objectives of the parks board is to revamp, revitalize and redevelop South Harrison Park.
He said it would be a game-changer for not just the park, but the entire area.
"We want to make it a premiere park," Heazlitt said.
The park has approximately 25,000 visitors per year, Heazlitt said, but adding a lake could increase that figure, along with revenue, significantly.
South Harrison is the only park the county owns with camping availability (the county operates Buffalo Trace Park near Palmyra, which has campsites, on a lease basis from the town).
The majority of the land needed for the lake is wooded, so the parks department could reap the benefit of timber sales leading up to the construction of the lake.
The lake will not be circular in nature but will have many fingers, and, hopefully, would be a great place for anglers, Heazlitt said. The freshwater-fed lake will be about 30 feet deep, so it won't have the same weed issues Buffalo Trace Lake has, he added.
In comparison, the lake at Buffalo Trace Park is about 30 acres in size.
The lake will make the South Harrison Park property much more attractive not only for anglers and campers, but also for baseball and softball leagues, Heazlitt said. The park has a baseball/softball complex, shelter houses, a pool and an astronomy observatory.
The lake at South Harrison Park is a part of the parks department's countywide plan to enhance the already strong parks system.
Earlier this year, a new department website went online, harrisoncountyparks.com, where visitors can book a campsite or shelter house at any of the Harrison County parks. The site has a list of the parks and activities associated with each.
Heazlitt said the website is already being used at an impressive pace.
The parks department also has a Facebook page, Harrison County Parks, which provides photos, information and updates.
Heazlitt expects 2014 to be a strong year financially for the parks. The Halloween event at Buffalo Trace Park, more than seven months away, is already sold out of camping spaces and another Halloween weekend may be added to the schedule. South Harrison Park also will have a Halloween camping event this year and, weather permitting, Hayswood Nature Reserve, west of Corydon, will host a trick-or-treating event.