Users of North Vernon City Park have plenty to celebrate as crews are busy preparing the facilities for the summer season.
For example, the new Shelter House No. 2 should be finished and ready for use by around Memorial Day, which is May 29.
The old Shelter House No. 2 was in disrepair and had to be torn down for safety reasons. The new shelter house will be used for the farmers markets that will take place throughout the summer from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
“The farmers market is very important to this community and the new shelter house is going to make things a lot better for that,” said Chad Speer, director of the North Vernon Parks and Recreation Department.
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Both Shelter House No. 1 and the new Shelter House No. 2 will also be used for picnics, family reunions and other celebrations in City Park.
The city swimming pool will be ready for use by Memorial Day. Pool hours will be noon until 6 p.m. daily.
City Park also will be the site of many sports games and tournaments each of the summer months because the baseball season started last week and softball games will begin Monday.
Despite the good news for park users, Speer said some challenges exist. For example, the city will still lose out on revenue during sports tournaments.
“We have nice facilities for games and the tournaments do still bring in people to our community, but the way our sports facility is laid out makes it difficult to collect entry fees like other parks. We could increase our revenues if we could collect gate fees. That would help the park,” Speer said.
Also, the city swimming pool is more than 50 years old and is requiring greater upkeep and is losing about $40,000 a month because of maintenance fees and the lack of paying customers, he said.
“We’ve been looking hard for solutions for the past six months. We’ve visited other towns of the same size with pools to get ideas and ask questions. We’ve looked at the cost and design of new pools. Bottom line is the life span of our pool is coming to an end and we need to decide how we are going to deal with it,” Speer said.
An improved pool would be a valuable asset for the community, Speer said.
While crews are busy preparing City Park facilities, the North Vernon Parks and Recreation Department is busy planning for a new set of challenges with the city’s acquisition of 60 acres of property formerly known as old Muscatatuck Country Club and the Fords Crossing Golf Course.
The property will be renamed Tripton Park in honor of North Vernon’s earliest name, and will be the responsibility of the parks department.
“This new property will present both challenges and opportunities for us. It will be a different kind of use than the City Park is now. Because of the terrain, it won’t have the sports facilities and so on. We are listening to the ideas about how to develop it,” Speer said.