Source: The Corydon Democrat

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Lake may be in works for SH Park

by Ross Schulz

March 18, 2014

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.