News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 17, 2013

Plans set for Dewey Point Trailhead

Will serve as gateway to Wabashiki wildlife area

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

WEST TERRE HAUTE — A final master plan for a Dewey Point Trailhead unveiled Wednesday calls for a pavilion to house up to 200 people, a separate bathroom facility and a perimeter trail leading to a canoe/kayak launch into the Wabashiki State Fish & Wildlife Area.

The plan now goes before the Vigo County Park Board on Oct. 28. If the park board accepts the design, then financing the project will become the next step.

Wabash River Development and Beautification Inc. — nicknamed Riverscape — paid about $10,000 for the design of the trailhead plan for a site that fronts East National Drive, formerly U.S. 40, near the eastern edge of West Terre Haute. Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group, an Indianapolis landscape architecture firm, designed the trailhead, which proposes to also include a circular wetland observation area with limestone benches and an overlook area with swinging benches.

A previous concept had included an interpretive center based around an office for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The state does not have the funding for that project.

The pavilion is designed to be at least 30 feet wide and 50 feet long, covering up to 30 picnic tables. The design also includes a rain garden with signage that will provide facts on the importance of wetlands.

The site is designed to have 33 parking spaces and include a DNR check-in station.

The land is owned by, and will be maintained by, the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department.

Park Superintendent Kara Kish said the park department could initially budget $30,000 or more annually until the trailhead is completed. Kish said the park department could put in 10 to 15 percent of the cost. “It is a Vigo County park site, so I do intend on contributing to this location,” she said.

The estimated cost is more than $1.09 million; however, Kish said the site more likely could be completed in the $500,000 to $600,000 range. Kish last week attended a national park conference in Houston, where she sought lower vendor prices on items proposed at Dewey Point.

Kish said the $1 million plus cost “is sticker price, if we hired someone to do everything. I have 10 different restrooms being quoted for me right now and seven different shelters being quoted.”

One aspect of the site that is yet an undetermined expense is a potential deceleration lane and acceleration lane that may be required in front of the site.

Riverscape will head a fundraising effort for the project.

Kevin Runion, Riverscape member and associate vice president of facilities management at Indiana State University, said much of the project could be contributed from organizations in the county, in either materials or workmanship.

“This community has a history of stepping forward,” Runion said. “We build community with these projects. If you look at some of the history of projects we have done in Terre Haute, such as Centennial Park, that Terre Haute South Rotary constructed. We have folks like Jim Burdick (president of  Wabash Valley Asphalt) stepping forward and helping us.

“You look at the Clark-Landsbaum arboretum at Deming Park. That big stone wall, that sign, we got support from an apprentice class for masonry” which built the sign. “The same thing for Max Ehrmann site, where various elements were donated, the bricks were donated,” Runion said.

Scott L. Siefker, principal in Taylor Siefker Williams who presented the plan, said because the site is linked to transportation, it could be eligible for state or federal transportation improvement grants. Those grants would likely require matching funds from Vigo County.

The site is adjacent to a levee trail that goes around part of the wetland area. The site would also connect to a future grade trail proposed to go alongside East National Road connecting to a bridge over the Wabash River linking to Fairbanks Park.

John Mutchner, president of Riverscape, said the organization has about $130,000 “but we can’t use it all for [Dewey Point]. We have to prioritize for this project,” Mutchner said, adding the site will likely be developed in phases as funds/contributions are raised.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or