Board Recommends Aquatic Center Changes

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

Board recommends Aquatics Center changes

Posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 6:00 am | Updated: 8:02 am, Wed Feb 3, 2016.

Members of the New Castle Parks Board continue to fine tune plans for improving local parks and implementing a five-year master plan recently submitted to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for that agency’s consideration.

After much discussion, the board voted Monday to recommend to the city council some changes in the way the Aquatics Center at Baker Park operates.

A motion was made and passed to charge a flat fee of $2 per person per visit with children 2 and under admitted free. In the recent past, the fee was $4 for adults, $2 for children age 3 to 17, and 2 and under free. The motion also was to do away with season passes and replace them with 10-punch cards, which will be available to income eligible households at a discounted price, and to open the pool an hour earlier throughout the week to allow additional swim time. Again, the changes outlined are recommendations only. A final decision must be made by the city council.

Board president Patty Broyles pointed out that these recommended changes are being made based on input from the public.

“We want to welcome everybody and encourage them to come to New Castle, to come to the pool, and to use our parks,” Broyles said. “We’re listening to the public and working hard to make our parks the best they can be.”

In other news, board member John Henderson, who has been investigating options for repairing or replacing the memorial wall in Baker Park, reported on his findings.

“I went by and looked at the wall. Until you mentioned it to me before, I don’t know that I had ever really seen the wall. After I talked with several people, they had the same conclusion; they didn’t even know there was a wall there,” Henderson said.

Henderson said the wall, which was constructed at least 13 years ago, features only nine memorial plaques and they don’t stand out. He also said the bricks the wall is constructed of are flaking and chipping and that it’s in a state of disrepair. In addition, Henderson was of the opinion the wall lacks a theme or focal point.

He suggested reconstructing the wall using an aluminum alloy of the type used for a similar wall at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, at an estimated cost of $10,000, or black granite, at an estimated cost of $12,500.

All agreed the names on existing plaques would be incorporated in any new structure and that an effort should be made to promote the sale of additional plaques.

“The memorial wall is damaged. It’s just not appealing, and what we want to do is make it more appealing to the eye,” Broyles said. “What we’re wanting to do is make it something this community can be a part of as far as remembering their loved ones.”

“The people being honored on this wall deserve more than just letting it fall apart,” board vice president David Nantz added. “It needs to be fixed and become an asset of the park rather than the way it looks at the moment.”

It was decided the board will apply to the Henry County Community Foundation for a grant to help pay for whatever decision the board eventually makes regarding the memorial wall.

It also was reported the sale of wire baskets from the original public swimming pool at Baker Park continues. The baskets are priced at $25 each or two for $40. They come with a small card that contains a brief history and a photo of the old pool house. They currently are available for purchase at Nantz Photography, 206 S. 14th St., during normal business hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. For more information, call 765-521-8888. Proceeds from the sale of the baskets will benefit future park improvements and programs.

Besides board members Broyles, Nantz, Henderson and Sandy Scott, city council member and parks board liaison Mary Pierce-Abbott was also in attendance at this week’s meeting. Broyles expressed her appreciation for Pierce-Abbott’s interest.

The parks board next meets at 5:30 p.m. March 7 in council chambers on the second floor of the municipal building, 227 N. Main St., New Castle. The meeting is open to all interested persons.