By APRILE RICKERT
News and Tribune
CLARKSVILLE, IN (NEWS AND TRIBUNE) - A construction project in South Clarksville has opened up the possibility for a new sports action park, and town leaders are seeking public input for the next step.
On Wednesday, May 9, residents are invited to Renaissance Academy for a two-hour presentation and workshop to help decide if their is enough interest to proceed with the park, proposed in a four-acre unused section of Colgate Park on South Clark Boulevard, and, if so, which amenities to include.
Though the specifics aren't set, preliminary designs show the potential amenities such as a walking and bike track; a pump track, on which bicyclists ramp up and around concrete mounds without pedaling; observation areas and other play features.
"It's exciting. I think it would be a really nice compliment to our park service," Clarksville Redevelopment President Aaron Stonecipher said. "[To] kind of expand what we can offer as far as park amenities to a wider range of kids."
The park would also add to the growing rebirth of the older part of town, he added. And situated next to Clarksville Cove Family Aquatic Center, which reopened last year after $3.8 million upgrades to the facility, would add to the draw.
Clarksville Town Manager Kevin Baity agreed that the park addition would provide something for all ages — hitting the teen years that some activities in the area miss.
"The park is going to be geared for multiple ages," Baity said. "Mom and dad could take the younger kids to the pool and the teenagers could come over to this facility."
The idea for the complex was born during the design of an estimated $2.4 million drainage project to replace an aged stormwater pipe that runs beneath Newman Avenue, Colgate Park and South Clark Boulevard in South Clarksville. Stantec Consulting is nearly finished with the design of the project, with construction starting soon, according to an email from redevelopment director Dylan Fisher.
Stantec also has experience in other areas of the United States designing action sports parks. Working on the drainage project, designers realized that the details of the construction process — a new pipe and fill dirt added to stabilize the bank and address surface flooding — could set the perfect scene for the action park, according to an email from Clarksville representative Lauren Cox.
The Stantec team presented the plan in mid 2017, complete with examples of other design work on skate and bike parks across the country, including several in Indiana and Louisville.
"And they loved it," Stonecipher said of the commission. It unanimously approved phase one of the project, which included $10,000 for two different conceptual designs.
In January, the commission approved that the team proceed with the next step, which includes the public workshop. The concept lists amenities totaling approximately $2.1 million, but that's an estimate that lists all the potential amenities that could be included. Clarksville and its residents can choose what they want and what is best for the town.
Funding sources and project timelines would be determined after the public input is gathered and assessed by Stantec.
Stonecipher said the addition would be an effective way to repurpose an underused space while building on the growth of South Clarksville.
"Our first goal [as the redevelopment commission] is to continue economic development and redevelopment in blighted areas of Clarksville," he said. "And we want to create quality of life that's going to retain talent and families in Clarksville.
"And part of that is offering not just green spaces but opportunities for memories to be made. That's where this unique park would make a great addition to our parks department."
Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at email@example.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.