News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 27, 2013

Park board approves drainage, dam work

Bike trail council members named

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Repairs to a dam for Ruble Lake at Fowler Park and replacement of culvert drainage pipes will wipe out the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department’s capital projects fund.

The Vigo County Park Board Monday gave its support for work that includes “slip-lining” three culvert drainage pipes under roads at Hawthorn Park, plus digging out and replacing an aluminum culvert pipe under a road in Fowler Park.

“We will shut down part of Hawthorn for a couple of days, then the other half to do the work,” said Adam Grossman, parks assistant superintendent.

That work will cost about $49,800.

The county’s capital projects fund contains about $106,000, said Parks Superintendent Kara Kish. The remainder left from the Hawthorn project will be used for required work at the Fowler Park dam, she said.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Water is requiring the parks department to complete, by Jan. 1, a geotechnical and hydrologic/hydraulic study of the dam and its spillway.

The department will use Banning Engineering and Patriot Engineering and Environmental Inc. for the work.

Banning, serving as the general contractor, is to develop plans/specifications to improve the safety of the dam/spillway.

Work will include soil borings along the crest of the dam and along the downstream toe of the dam, among other areas. Work also includes a slope stability analysis for normal and unusual loading conditions, based on soil laboratory tests of the embankment and foundation materials. Then reconstruction plans and specifications will be done.

Park officials have lowered Ruble Lake by 18 inches to relieve pressure on the dam’s spillway. Another requirement, Grossman said, is a new inlet for the dam, to meet new standards. That could add to the cost of the project if the inlet must be relocated.

Grossman said once the hydraulic/geotechnical study is done, construction to bring the dam into compliance could cost at least $300,000.

Kish said that cost could be higher, depending on the study. The park department will then seek additional funds from the Vigo County Council and possible grant funds.

She said the park department must meet DNR requirements or the lake must be drained to a level that would eliminate recreational abilities at Fowler Park. If that is done, the dam must also be breached.

“It is all or nothing,” Kish told the board. Board members stated their support to maintain the lake.

“We have wonderful parks and we have not had to spend much in the past years” on capital improvements, said Board President Peggy Harlan.

n In other business, the Park Board appointed a new advisory council to research the possibility of establishing a mountain bike trail system in the Fowler Park Wilderness Area.

The members, to serve a 12-month term, are Dave Sutphin, Jeriah Threlfal, Jerry Harnack, Klaine Tanner, Superior Court Judge Chris Newton, Dr. Grant Hammons, Gene Griffin and Nate Broadbent.

The committee will hold monthly meetings that will be open to the public. An initial meeting has not yet been scheduled, but likely will be by the end of this week. The council will report quarterly to the Park Board, Kish said.

Kish will serve as the ninth voting member on the advisory council. Kish said it is expected to take at least 24 months before a final project is ready for the Park Board to vote on. The members will serve one-year terms to allow others to serve or they can be reappointed, Kish said.

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