‘Exciting’ SH Park plan revealed
The Harrison County Parks Dept. and the parks board have a plan to make South Harrison Park, located between Elizabeth and Laconia, the focal point of the future for Harrison County Parks.
Members of a steering committee charged with creating a master plan for the park, with the help of design firm DLZ, met last Wednesday afternoon to discuss and review the initial plan.
The complete project includes four small ponds, 40 to 50 cabins of differing varieties, a lodge, windmill (for pumping well water) hiking trails, primitive camping, a refurbished old truss bridge, spray pad, multiple playgrounds, maintenance facility and shower houses.
‘This option brings some excitement to the park,’ Jeff Hirsch, DLZ project manager, said.
The ponds would be connected by a stream where all stormwater will flow, including through the middle of the main parking lot.
‘It’s not a complex solution by any means, but it’ll provide a nice feature,’ Hirsch said.
The ponds, about 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 acres in size and, at minimum, eight to 10 feet deep, will feature fishing and possibly paddle boats but no swimming. Also, the current swimming pool and pool house will be removed and a spray pad will be added. Each pond will be lined to prevent drainage through the karst topography. The original parks board plan was to build a lake on the property, but it was not deemed financially feasible.
The rustic windmill, which could be used to pump water into the ponds, will also be a unique feature.
One of the cabin clusters will include tree-house cabins along a hillside with potentially walking bridges leading to them. Another cluster of cabins will be luxury, with plumbing, while others will be rustic in nature with no plumbing. All cabins will have two bedrooms.
The lodge will include a large meeting space, a kitchen, offices, outdoor terrace/overlook and a reception hall.
‘We envision that being a fairly significant facility,’ Hirsch said.
The lodge will have a capacity of 300 to 400.
The multipurpose outdoor area will be located just outside of the lodge.
The refurbished bridge, much like the one at Hayswood Nature Reserve, would likely be placed at a location that it could be seen from the lodge area. The bridge in mind is the one formerly used on Circle Road.
The trails will meander through the southern section of the park, which Hirsch said is great for hiking among mature trees and along Mosquito Creek, which grows larger as it works its way south.
‘What an incredible resource you have down there,’ Hirsch, who walked the area, said. ‘It’s pretty cool. There’s some amazing trees down there.’
The other option presented by Hirsch included having the entrance to the park changed to a point off of Rehobeth Road. It was not looked upon favorably by the steering committee.
The first option will tweak the entrance road to make it more aesthetically pleasing, but it will still enter from the same spot off S.R. 11.
Rand Heazlitt, Harrison County Parks director, said the next step is to gain support for the project.
‘This park has to become profitable,’ parks board member Larry Shickels said. ‘This will be the park that will support the others, profit-wise.’
The parks board will meet and hear the plan for South Harrison on Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.