TERRE HAUTE —
The Wabash Valley Riverscape organization on Wednesday approved $75,000 toward the development of the Dewey Point Trailhead, a sum that will be matched up to $125,000 by the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department.
The parks department’s commitment will come from a non-reverting, non-tax dollar fund, paid from camping fees, shelter rental fees and maple syrup sales, said Parks Superintendent Kara Kish.
“The goal of the Vigo County Parks Department was to get major infrastructure on the ground, and our budget could not support that in full,” Kish said. “With the contribution from Riverscape, we will be able to realize that goal of getting the major infrastructure on the ground this summer. … It is an excellent public/private partnership.
“Although Dewey Point is owned and operated by the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department, the development of this site is part of the Riverscape vision. It is an incredible partnership and to get the financial support from the [non-profit] organization is really what is allowing it to move forward,” Kish said.
The goal is, by summer, to have a shelter, restroom and parking lot completed. Kish said she is again seeking quotes and designs on the shelter and restroom as her initial quotes were obtained in the fall of 2013.
“We will also seek quotes for a combined shelter and restroom, just to have something to compare” on costs of separate facilities, Kish said.
She said Riverscape members made comments that by having a combined shelter, children would not be required to cross the parking to use the restroom. However, Kish said one benefit of having separate facilities is that if there is a gathering in the shelter, those people would not be interrupted from people using the trail.
“As this point the master design calls for two separate facilities, but I will seek quotes to see what the options are and then reach a decision,” Kish said. “There are pros and cons to each design.”
Max Miller, chair of Riverscape’s wetlands committee, said a trail around the Wabashiki State Fish & Wildlife area is already heavily used. Miller said developing Dewey Point is an important feature for expanded use of the wildlife area.
“I think it is a step toward developing and opening it more to public use,” Miller said. “I think it will be a key to the most important site where people can get in and park and get off the highway and have access to the trail system, as well as a place to gather at the shelter.
“I think it is very key and the beginning of more public use,” Miller said.
Once the shelter, restroom and parking lot are in place, the next step will be to obtain community support for construction of a kayak ramp, a board walk, outdoor lighting, art features, landscaping and general signage. Those are all part of a master design plan paid by Riverscape and approved in October by the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Board.
The total project is now estimated to cost $600,000 to $700,000, depending on if the parks department and Riverscape can obtain in-kind contributions and additional monetary donations.
“The initial infrastructure will be the primary financial expenditure on the site, then every dollar we can receive from in-kind donations of time, talent and materials is one less dollar that we have to look for,” Kish said, adding she hopes to have the project completed by the summer of 2015.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.