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October 27, 2013

Updated park ready for visitors

New playground, rec area unveiled at Prairie Creek Park

TERRE HAUTE — Nestled in the quiet woods of southwestern Vigo County, a new play area at a county park is now open for the public to enjoy.

The Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department hosted the grand opening of the new playground and recreational site at Prairie Creek Park on Saturday morning.  

The new playground and recreational site feature a large, modern playground structure, swings, a shelter, a basketball court, a tennis court, horseshoe pits, a baseball field, covered picnic tables and charcoal grills.

“We determined two years ago that we were going to update every playground in our system,” said  Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Kara Kish.

“This was the second major venture,” Kish said, after the project at The George and Ida Smith Park in Prairieton was completed in 2012.

The project at Prairie Creek Park cost approximately $110,000, which came from nonreverting park fund, Kish said. Camping fees, shelter fees and maple syrup sales are among the income sources for the fund.

The project was a result of “very hard work by our staff,” Kish said. The parks and recreation department staff constructed the new facilities under her supervision as a certified playground safety inspector.

Two old, worn tennis courts were converted into a full-sized basketball court with two regulation goals and one goal for children. Parking and restrooms are also available.

“We wanted to make sure that the south side of Vigo County had ample and appropriate facilities,” Kish said.

The new 900-square-foot playground was visible from the entrance of the park.

And on Saturday, 6-year-old Adelaide Hudson enjoyed the new playground with her mother, Amber Slaughterback, also a parks employee.

“I made it!” Amber said when she reached the top of the slide.

Then, gleefully, she slid down before going back up again for another turn.

The playground set has four slides, tubes that lead up and down to different areas and interactive marble toys.

At the event, where food was also served, the goal was to enjoy the new facilities and to “put it to good use,” as Slaughterback said.

“We want people to come out and enjoy the parks,” Kish said.

Prairie Creek Park consists of 282.75 acres and total water area of 16 acres, according to the official website of Vigo County. It is 10 miles south of Interstate-70 on U.S. 41 and 4 miles west on West French Drive.

In addition to the new facilities, the park also has a lake, two ponds, a campground and a sugar house for maple syrup production.

With all these attractions, Vigo residents can take advantage of recreational activities at the park, including fishing, boating and camping, said Vigo County Parks and Recreation board president Peggy Harlan.

She said she lives in southern Vigo County and uses the park a lot. “It’s one of the jewels in our county” that people don’t realize exists, Harlan said.

“They need to come and check it out.”

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or

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