Board Approves Park Plans

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

Board approves park plans

Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2016 6:00 am

The New Castle Board of Works has officially endorsed the New Castle Park Board’s plans for the coming year.

Park board president Patty Broyles appeared before the Board of Works Monday and explained the park board’s recently approved five-year master plan includes upgrades to park restrooms, improvements in park security and the design and construction of a skatepark in 2016.

Broyles said the park board recently received a $5,000 grant from the Henry County Community Foundation to pay for preliminary design work for a skatepark and that she intended to apply to the Capital Projects Management Committee in the hopes of securing food and beverage tax dollars as well.

She said the skatepark is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $250,000 and that making park restrooms handicapped accessible and adding video surveillance throughout the parks brings that total to around $400,000. The board is looking for grants to help pay for those projects, she said, and asked city department heads for letters of support. She already has letters from the mayor and clerk-treasurer, among others.

“Today, I just really need approval to go for these grants and your acknowledgement,” Broyles said.

Mayor Greg York said the city intends to seek food and beverage tax monies to help pay for his proposed improvements to the city’s amateur sports facilities, bathroom upgrades and for the skatepark.

Board member and city attorney Dave Copenhaver suggested the requests for funding might be combined into one grant request.

“It seems to me we need to coordinate (these requests) so we aren’t competing against ourselves for those grant dollars,” Copenhaver said.

A motion was eventually made to support and endorse the park board’s plans for the coming year and to authorize Broyles to seek grants on behalf of the parks board.

Broyles also pointed out that a community survey recently conducted by the park board showed that many people want extended hours at the Aquatics Center at Baker Park. She requested the board consider opening at 10 a.m. rather than 11 a.m. since staying open later is difficult because of the popularity of private swim parties in the evenings. This matter was tabled.

New Castle Water Superintendent Greg Phipps asked the board to consider increasing the bulk rate for water. He said the current fee is $5 per 1,000 gallons and the cost to produce that much water is $3. He suggested an increase to $10. Copenhaver pointed out any fee increase would have to be approved by both the city council and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and suggested that a review of all water rates might be more appropriate. No action on this matter was taken, though it is expected to be discussed again in the future.

Phipps also reported municipal water samples were recently tested for 60 different contaminants and the results were all favorable. 

The board granted permission for Little Blessings to use an area adjacent to Baker Park from noon to 1 p.m. July 30. Plans are to have several bounce houses, food, refreshments and music while volunteers distribute 500 back-to-school backpacks.

The local Babe Ruth baseball organization also was granted permission to canvas the city May 13 and 14 as volunteers seek donations to help offset the costs of running the summer league. This is the 59th year such an effort has been made locally.