Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

February 25, 2014

What are recreational priorities now?

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Every five years the Batesville Parks and Recreation Board must submit a master plan detailing goals for the next five years to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. “To be eligible for grants, you must have a ... plan on file,” pointed out BPRB President Tim Hunter. “They want to see you’ve identified needs and that’s what you’re working toward.”

Once again, Eric Frey, Administrative Resources association, Columbus, executive director and a consultant to the city, will assist the board with the process and discussed it at the Feb. 19 monthly meeting.

Hunter reflected, “I’ve been around for a few of these (five-year) cycles now.” He was gratified to realize that over the past decade, a lot of recreational needs that had been identified, such as trails, a handicapped playground and soccer and baseball complexes, have materialized. “Eric likes working with Batesville. We can check off a lot of things from one time to the next we’ve been fortunate to be able to accomplish.”

Parks Commissioner Mike Baumer follows the five-year blueprint and “does a great job of pursuing grants to get improvements.”

Baumer and Frey will work together on the first steps in the process, to identify existing conditions and make sure assets are accurately inventoried.

This summer citizens will be asked to complete paper and online surveys and to attend public meetings to offer input. In early fall, the plan’s scope will be narrowed after sifting through public feedback. The parks board will submit a draft to IDNR, get input from employees about how to improve it, then submit the final plan in December, according to Hunter.

Rural Alliance for the Arts board member Jeff Pawlik was exploring where to hold a Sept. 13 outdoor concert starring country musician John Michael Montgomery. “They were looking at using one of the fields at The Plex or else the Liberty Park baseball field” because RAA leaders could more easily charge admission into a fenced area, the president explained. “The board was favorable in trying to help accommodate the request,” said Hunter. RAA members will do more research on logistics with Baumer.

Several residents came to the meeting to find out if they could use park facilities and how much that would cost.

Interested in renting the Liberty Park Pavilion for a wedding reception, Matt Sharpless questioned the difference in fees in Ordinance 2014-1, recently enacted by the city council: $300 for a group, $400 with kitchen for a group, $700 with kitchen for a company picnic and $1,000 with kitchen plus a $400 refundable deposit for cleaning for a wedding reception. Members explained that typically, receptions last longer than other events, decorating and cleanup on weekends limit other usage and there could be greater liability if alcohol is served. The fee is higher because “I don’t think the park board wants wedding receptions going on every weekend.”

In the past, BPRB has waived rental fees for nonprofit groups. Due to its tight budget, the new city ordinance states, “Any entity with 501(c) status or other tax-exempt status may receive up to a 50 percent discount on any rental property.” So members voted that Community Mental Health Center will pay $200 to use the pavilion with kitchen instead of the full $400.

Kiwanis Student Leadership Academy member Leo Giesey, a Batesville High School senior, has not submitted a written request, but asked the board to waive the pavilion fee its first annual five-kilometer, untimed Color Run slated for April 4 at Liberty Park and the adjoining Liberty Trail. Two-thirds of the proceeds will go to the Kiwanis for Kids program, which allows BHS students to mentor Batesville Primary School kids. Because there will be no more free uses, Baumer pointed out a lot of 5K organizers use Shelter 1 near the traditional start/finish line. Nonprofits will pay $50 for that instead of the normal $100. Giesey said the group will consider the recommendation.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

 

Two requests turned down • A request by the Dall family to hold a wedding ceremony and small reception at Brum Woods was denied because of the lack of parking and restrooms, Hunter said. "The logistics were a concern .... The board was leery of taking Brum Woods out of public use." • A request by photographer Grace Wagner to install a sign for her business at Liberty Park also was voted down. "She thinks the park makes such a nice backdrop" for family and children's portraits. "It was a commercial venture to use the park. It didn't really fit into the usage guidelines that we have." He noted amateur and professional photographers are welcome to shoot photos there occasionally, but not set up shop.