Parks Board Receives Tourism Grant

Information reprinted with permission of the Courier Times, local newspaper New Castle, Indiana

Parks board receives tourism grant

Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 6:00 am

The New Castle Parks Board is primed to receive $275,000 from the Henry County Food and Beverage Tax fund to help pay for restroom upgrades and video surveillance cameras in Baker Park, as well as funding to help pay for construction of a new skatepark.

Wheelchair-accessible restrooms and improved security are priority at Baker Park, said parks board president Patty Broyles.

Vandalism has been a big problem at the current restrooms, so they stay locked much of the time the city park is open.

Broyles said open public restrooms and increased security will make Baker Park more inviting to people who visit the city.

The New Castle Parks Board has also spent several months developing a public extreme sports park to help draw skateboarders and BMX riders from the area to town. A local skatepark would also give the skating community a safe place to hone their skills without having to travel out of town. The New Castle Extreme Sports Park will also provide a spot away from busy parking lots or sidewalks.

The parks board had initially requested $335,248 of food and beverage tax money to fund the restrooms, security and skatepark projects. That specific tax fund is designed to promote tourism and economic development within the county. Broyles said Sandy Scott helped her through the grant process.

The Henry County Council approved $275,000 for the joint parks projects Wednesday.

The city parks board needs community involvement to help keep up momentum behind the project, Broyles said. She hopes to see a lot of skateboarders, BMX riders and other extreme sports supporters at the July 5 meeting.

Hunger Skateparks, which designed the New Castle park, will be at the July meeting to discuss final details of the project. Broyles and the other members of the parks board want people who will use the arena to be a part of the conversation before they open it up to construction bids.

“We need skater input badly,” Broyles said.

New Castle Mayor Greg York said in May that the city will move forward with the skatepark project, even if it has to be in phases. They will start construction with whatever funds the city has up front, York said.

Broyles worries that building a skatepark in phases or scaling back the project would make it less of a draw to regional skaters. The current designs for the 11,500-square-foot concrete park include ramps, rails, stairs and a raised bowl. The park would accommodate skateboarders and trick bike riders. The expected cost of the project is between $250,000 and $300,000.

Even with the county grant, Broyles thinks the city may still need to raise more than $60,000 to make the project happen.

“My goal is to do what we said we’d do,” Broyles said. “I think we can do it.” 

The city has created a dedicated fund for skatepark donations. Anyone wishing to donate is encouraged to do so by sending a check or money order to New Castle Clerk-Treasurer Christy York, 227 N. Main St., New Castle, IN 47362. Be sure to indicate the money is for the New Castle Extreme Sports Park Fund. Donations may also be made in person at the clerk-treasurer’s office on the first floor of the municipal building at the previously listed address.

The New Castle Parks Board meets at 5 p.m. July 5 in council chambers at 227 N. Main St., New Castle.