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Tue, Oct 21, 2014 11:06 AM
Issue of October 15, 2014
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Council halts South Harrison Park plan

August 27, 2014 | 08:46 AM

Harrison County Parks Dept. officials gave an update to the Harrison County Council Monday night detailing its many accomplishments in the last year or so. Later in the meeting, however, it was action the board was unable to accomplish that became the focus.

The council failed to approve the parks board's request to continue the revitalization effort at South Harrison Park near Elizabeth.

Councilman Richard Gerdon made the motion to hold off on the $44,400 master plan request for SH Park until next year, after the 2015 budget is complete and other major projects, such as the Lanesville sewer system, are in the books.

Gerdon did commend parks director Rand Heazlitt for work he has done and said he's a supporter of the parks.

"I want to see momentum continued, but the timing is bad," Gerdon said.

Gerdon then made a motion to put the request, which was unanimously passed by the board of commissioners, on hold until next year. Councilman Jim Heitkemper seconded and Councilman Ralph Sherman also voted for the motion. Council members Gary Davis, Phil Smith and Sherry Brown were against, meaning it stalled with a 3-3 vote (Councilman Gordon Pendleton was absent).

Smith made a motion to approve the request, but the vote was again split 3-3 along the same lines.

Smith said the board has $750,000 set aside for the project in the riverboat "what if" analysis, which is not a budget, but a projection of spending.

Parks board member Larry Shickles said the board wanted the master plan complete this year so it would be eligible for certain grants to begin 2015. He also said the price on the master plan request will not be available again if they have to start all over.

"This is an extension of what you've already got," he said of the request.

Essentially, Shickles said, the revitalization of the park is a dead issue for now after the failed motion to approve the request.

"I'm not against the parks ... I'm just trying to balance things," Gerdon said.

One of the primary objectives of the parks board is to revamp, revitalize and redevelop the 225-acre South Harrison Park. Even though a lake project was deemed unfeasible, the goal remained to enhance the park. The firm that conducted the lake study, DLZ, provided a master plan quote.

The plan was to include public input (possibly two meetings, one at the park and one in Corydon) to determine the best options for improvement to existing structures/attractions and ideas for new features.

A possible option Heazlitt mentioned was a cluster of cabins, tree-house cabins or cottages that could be used for any type of reunion or retreat. The plan would have been ready for review in October.

The county paid DLZ $27,500 to complete the lake feasibility study.

In other business, Circuit Court Judge John Evans and Sharon Uhl, director of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), were on hand to answer questions regarding their 2015 budget (neither could attend last week's or tomorrow's regularly scheduled budget hearing meetings with the council).

Uhl recently received results from a self-assessment from the regional program officer, and the organization passed with flying colors, according to Evans.

"Not many organizations achieve what Sharon's been able to achieve with CASA," he said.

The council will continue to hear budget requests, including Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye's, tonight (Wednesday) at 5 at the Government Center in south Corydon.

The next regular meeting of the council will be Monday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center.

Twitter: @TCD_ross

  1. print email
    August 28, 2014 | 09:12 AM

    We never seem to get anything in the southern part of the county. Now there are plans do something nice down south and our own representatives on the county council vote to kill it?

  2. print email
    Just a tiny bit off the subject...
    August 29, 2014 | 11:24 AM

    Something that might contribute to making South Harrison Park more attractive would be to build a modern road to the east side of the southern part of Harrison County. From I-64, there's simply no easy way to get there. From exit 105, there's the roller-coaster that's SR 337 south of Corydon, to highway 11; or there's SR 135 to Mauckport, then to the other roller-coaster that's SR 11 through Laconia. Or there's SR 337 to SR 62 to Corydon-New Middletown road to New Middletown-Elizabeth road, to Pumping Station road [if you want to save a few miles], to SR 11. Off exit 118 there's the roller-coaster that's Highway 11 off Highway 62; and there's the thrill ride off Exit 123 that becomes a maze, from SR 111 to SR 211 to SR 11. And I won't even BEGIN to describe the adventure getting there from Exit 113.

    Bottom line us, unless you're from Webster, Boone, or Taylor townships, you have to REALLY want to go there--almost desperately, it would seem--to visit South Harrison Park. And that's a shame, because it's really a jewel.

  3. print email
    Fiscal Responsibility
    September 01, 2014 | 01:08 PM

    I appreciate the council waiting on this project. It's true that Mr. Heazlitt has done a great job since taking over. ... Let's totally fix the last mistake before we spend more money in creating new ones. ...

    I agree
  4. print email
    September 03, 2014 | 10:46 AM

    I feel like the park needs a lake! if you have a lake you are going to have more people come and stay at the park or come for the day and visit. Usually when families camp, they also want to fish ( at least mine does). what draws us to a camping park: facilities, variety, and a lake for fishing.
    Get a lake and get more people; don't get a lake and don't increase attendance.
    I guess we will have to camp at Buffalo Trace or some other county's parks that have a lake for fishing.

    someone who would use the park more
  5. print email
    Common Sense
    September 04, 2014 | 01:21 PM

    Yes Mr Heazlitt has done an amazing job in turning these parks around. He has started fixing the problem. Fiscal Responsibility obviously did not think about what they was saying. The request was to fix the last mistake, so now that it has been funded the mistake is about fixed.

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