Vigo Parks Board OKs funds for water line work, approves changes to camping policies

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Howard Greninger, The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.
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Mar. 23—The Vigo County Parks and Recreation Board on Monday approved up to $152,237 for installation of new water lines in Fowler and Prairie Creek parks.

However, Adam Grossman, superintendent of the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department, told the parks board the department may not spend that much. Instead, he said because of cost overruns for new water lines at Hawthorn Park, it may have to make cuts in projects it presented to the board for Fowler Park.

If needed, Grossman told the board he would cut more than $25,800 from a side water line at Fowler Park that was slated to connect to a workshop, a barn and Shelter A to keep within the department's 2021 budget.

"We have a three-way value that we are trying to fix at Fowler Park that comes off the main road, and added that on to see if we could fix that," Grossman said.

That section may be delayed until next year due to unexpected costs to complete Hawthorn Park, Grossman said after the meeting. Those costs include about nine state-required fire hydrants at the park. The parks department had anticipated costs at about $80 per hydrant, "but instead it costs about $800 per hydrant just to get [a state issued] permit," Grossman said.

Fowler Park will have less than half of the park with new water lines this year, but the department would have to continue that work next year, Grossman said.

Water lines to Prairie Creek will be completed this year, hopefully before May 1, Grossman said, pending receipt of a state building project review and permitting. Lankford Excavating LLC was approved by the Parks Board for the water line installation work.

In other business, the board approved two resolutions for park policies. Among changes are establishing check-in and check-out times for park camping, as the county now uses Campspot, an online reservation system. Check-in time is 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 5 p.m. Sundays and holidays. Check-out times are 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday and holidays.

"Because we reserve online, we eliminated the first-come, first-serve policy for the parks," Grossman said.

Some other changes include a $2 booking fee; a $5 lock-in fee which reserves a space for any particular date of the year. It is not a requirement unless a camper wants to reserve a specific spot for a specific date; plus a $10 credit fee as the parks department has a no-refund policy. The credit fee provides a park credit that can be used at a later date if a change is made at least 14 days prior to the original reservation date.

Campgrounds are open May 1 to Oct. 15 at Fowler Park, Hawthorn Park and Prairie Creek Park, with some exceptions for special events. Annual park hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. May 1 to Oct. 15 and dawn to dusk Oct. 16 to April 30.

The park policies on fishing also follow Indiana state law, requiring a state fishing license, with bass measuring less than 14 inches be released. Fish trot lines, bush lines and netting is prohibited in Vigo County parks.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.