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New rest room a ‘go’ at park

The Harrison County Council voted Monday night, Feb. 22, to approve an additional appropriation of nearly $96,000 for its portion of the 1,300-square-foot rest room facility project at Hayswood Nature Reserve west of Corydon.
New rest rooms were a recurring theme in a visitors survey conducted by the parks department in recent years. The rest rooms will replace the old ‘pit’ toilets at the top of the hill in the park.
The council agreed last year, with a letter-of-intent, to fund half of the project if the Harrison County Community Foundation awarded a grant to pay the other half. The Foundation awarded the grant at the end of 2009.
The project estimate, conducted by Jason Copperwaite of Primavera Construction Engineering, is nearly $200,000.
Parks director Claudia Howard said the lateral field, which will make the rest room a sanitary system, will cost between $60,000 and $70,000. The exterior of the building will be covered in a creek-stone finish to match the surroundings, which also will drive up the price. She hopes construction can begin by late spring and that the cost will stay well below the estimate.
The council approved the motion, out of the riverboat gaming contingency fund, with a 5-1 vote. Councilman Richard Gerdon voted against. Gerdon questioned the cost of the project at the council’s last meeting.
‘That sounds like a ridiculous amount of money for a rest room,’ Gerdon said at the Feb. 8 meeting. ‘A lot of counties are losing money in parks, and we’re building a $200,000 rest room.’
In other business, the council unanimously approved $233,859 for the Emergency Medical Services operating budget shortfall from 2009 out of the riverboat gaming contingency fund.
The council and EMS director Gary Kleeman agreed to have EMS request funds after the year ends instead of trying to budget a number that often varies.
‘This is pretty important,’ Commissioner James Goldman, who presented the request, said. ‘Compared to other counties from around the state, we do very well. Some counties pay $5 or $6 million for ambulance service.’
Harrison County’s EMS total operating budget usually falls between $700,000 and $800,000.
The board also unanimously approved $87,000 for the motor vehicle highway fund for new stainless steel salt boxes; $11,400, to retro-fit police cruisers’ 800 megahertz radios; and $45,000 for salt for the highway department.
The council will vote on another $45,000 additional for salt at its next regular meeting, along with $20,000 for overtime stemming from the winter storms. Highway department superintendent Glen Bube said it is tough on the overtime budget when a storm hits on the weekend. The council also approved a transfer of $4,300 from health insurance to overtime for Bube’s department.