Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune
---- — Batesville Parks and Recreation Board members learned about a potential new athletic event at their Dec. 18 monthly meeting.
Bruce Scott proposed celebrating National Trails Day on Saturday, June 7, with a Brum Woods Trail Run. If approved, this would be the first of four events in different cities organized by a new group called Southeast Indiana Trail Running.
According to him, proceeds in 2014 would be used to purchase event equipment and materials. In 2015, proceeds would be donated to a charity, such as a nearby food pantry or humane society.
Registration would start at 8 a.m. with the 4.5-mile run/walk getting underway at 9 a.m. If walking, an entrant could cover the distance in about an hour and a half, Scott estimated. He expects about 50 at this first event.
BPRB President Bob Fitzpatrick asked if organizers wanted the woods’ trails closed that day to everyone but participants. “Just until noon” was the answer.
Mayor Rick Fledderman asked, “Are you a not-for-profit?” Scott said Batesville-based members will decide soon “which way we’re going to go.”
His concerns about the run/walk are the small amount of parking spaces and lack of restrooms at Brum Woods. Also, participants would have to cross State Road 229 once and Huntersville Road twice at the crosswalk.
Fledderman said he was worried about runners tripping on tree roots and getting injured. “Are you going to give insurance?” he wondered. Scott said if the group becomes a nonprofit, it will be affiliated with the Road Runners Club of America. If Southeast Indiana Trail Running is a limited liability company, it will align with USA Track and Field and gain insurance coverage through one of those entities. The mayor wants participants to sign waivers so the city will be held harmless in case of accidents.
Parks Commissioner Mike Baumer suggested adding a portion of the Liberty Trail near Liberty Park to the proposed course, which would increase the distance by just over a mile. If the race started and finished at the park, “your parking and restroom problems would be solved.” Because of those factors, “I think it’s almost mandatory” to start at the park,” agreed BPRB member Don Karbowski.
Scott disliked the idea of using the paved trail. Even though the Brum Woods Trail Run would be shorter than the half and full marathons they are envisioning elsewhere, events like these “draw serious trail runners who don’t want to run on anything but (natural) trails.”
He added that if the event is allowed here and grows over time, attracting athletes from other locations, “I think it’s an opportunity for a lot of exposure” for Batesville.
Fitzpatrick said he would have misgivings if the event is a for-profit venture. “We don’t ever do a race for somebody’s company gain.” Scott said later events are planned at Versailles State Park, Brookville Lake, Red Wolf Sanctuary in Rising Sun and Muscatatuck County Park, noting that most welcome planned recreational events.
Member Dr. Ed Negovetich understood needing startup money. “I have a little less of a hangup (about approving the race), knowing what the long-term vision is.”
Scott, who is looking for corporate sponsors, said race T-shirts and medals could be purchased at Joan’s T-Shirt Printing and Jim’s Engraving within Fullenkamp’s Sports. “We hope to keep the business in town.”
Fledderman wanted to know more about Southeast Indiana Trail Running and see a business plan “to make an educated decision.” He warned, “The board … and city have to be very careful about a precedent that might be set.” A decision was tabled until the group provides more information.
After Scott left the meeting, the talk turned to the tight parks and pool budgets. Clerk-treasurer Ron Weigel asked about charging a fee for a trail event, perhaps $100. Negovetich recommended $100 or $5 per participant. Baumer pointed out, “If you set it too high, they might as well not even have it.”
Debbie Blank can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.
Two more topics • Baumer showed members the proposed 2009 ordinance banning smoking at Batesville parks that was never finalized. Police Chief Stan Holt "is fine with it." BPRB voted to present the ordinance to the Batesville Board of Works and city council for review and approval. • Increased public pool fees determined by the co-managers most likely will be presented to the council for approval at the Jan. 13 meeting, according to Fledderman.