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Heitkemper flips vote, SH Park plan a go

Just two nights after a failed vote seemingly put the issue to rest, the Harrison County Council approved a $44,400 request to continue the revitalization project at South Harrison Park near Elizabeth.
The request will specifically pay for the master plan for the park, conducted by engineering firm DLZ.
Councilman Jim Heitkemper, who voted against the request two nights earlier, made the motion to approve the additional appropriation last Wednesday night at the council’s budget hearing meeting.
He said the main reason he flipped his vote was the fact that the park needs to get the lagoon sewer system fixed.
‘We’ve got to get that taken care of,’ he said. ‘That wasn’t mentioned the other night. IDEM (Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management) will be down our back.’
The motion approved, 4-2 (Councilman Gordon Pendleton absent), with Councilmen Richard Gerdon and Ralph Sherman against.
On Aug. 25, Gerdon said he wanted to wait until next year to move forward with the master plan, to get the council through the 2015 budget process. He said he supports the parks, as his (and the entire council’s) voting record attests, but the timing was bad and he wanted to hold off.
Heitkemper, at the time, said he agreed with Gerdon, causing the stalemate.
Earlier this year, the council approved $27,500 for DLZ to complete a feasibility study regarding a lake at the park. The study showed it was possible but not financially feasible.
One of the primary objectives of the parks board is to revamp, revitalize and redevelop the 225-acre South Harrison Park near Elizabeth. Even though a lake will not be a part of it, the goal remains to enhance the park in some way, shape or form.
The master plan will 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, according to parks director Rand Heazlitt, is a cluster of cabins, tree-house cabins or cottages that could be used for any type of reunion or retreat.
The master plan should be ready for review in October.
In other parks department matters, board member Larry Shickles said the park board plans to revisit the notion of paying coaches for the county swim teams. He said the parks have done so since the ’70s but don’t do it for any other recreational team or organization.
The parks board also asked for 2-percent raises across the board.