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Park plan grand but better with pool

My Opinion
Ross Schulz, Staff Writer

The Harrison County Parks Dept. has a plan to make South Harrison Park the crown jewel of all the parks within the county.
The plan, no doubt a multi-million-dollar endeavor, should at least consider retaining the six lane, 25-yard pool.
As it stands, the pool is a money pit with continued problems that have to be band-aided together just to keep open. That can’t continue.
But it’s obvious the pool is something of a treasure for a good number of folks in the southern part of the county. It’s also the home of the South Harrison Seahawks swim team.
The park, located between Elizabeth and Laconia off of S.R. 11, is the largest in the county, with 220 acres of mainly woodland area.
The plan includes revamping the entrance so it’s not a straight shot directly to the baseball diamonds, which will help motorists slow down and will help ensure visitors see more of the park before making their way to the fields.
The project, which is only in the preliminary stages and has not been approved, would include four small ponds, 40 to 50 cabins of differing varieties (including intriguing tree-house cabins), a lodge, rustic windmill, hiking trails, primitive camping, a refurbished old truss bridge, spray pad, multiple playgrounds, maintenance facility and shower houses.
The park could become quite the attraction for retreats, camping trips, reunions or for just a few hours to get away and relax.
It may even become more than that if the full plan comes to fruition, which includes a 300-to-400-person lodge that would be perfect for wedding receptions and business meetings.
If it’s financially feasible, all of this could be enhanced if the pool stays open.
It’ll take some restructuring and possibly changes in fees associated with swimmers, but the new plan should consider keeping the pool, not as a focal point of the park, but as just another exciting aspect of an attractive spot for Harrison Countians and visitors alike.
The majority of the feedback we’ve received (and there’s been plenty) has been positive about the plan, with the exception of dropping the pool.
When it comes to trying to secure funding for the plan, the parks department will need all the support it can get. That will be a lot easier to gain if the plan includes the pool.
For more information about South Harrison Park or any of the other county parks, visit the new website, harrisoncountyparks.com.

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