Jan 13, 2022. Looking forward: Parks and rec submits 5-year plan to DNR; public comments still welcome By Abigail Youmans
Dec 14, 2021. LETTER: County parks and rec thanks volunteers by Mark Shields. To the editor: Brown County Parks and Recreation would like to extend our sincere appreciation to a small group of dedicated volunteers. Collectively, these individuals have contributed nearly 400 hours this year of mowing and groundskeeping labor. With their help, the playing fields, walking trails and natural features at Deer Run Park have continued to accommodate both residents and visitors alike. Special thanks to Keith Baker, Ed Wrightsman, Travis Sommers, Dean Keefauver and Clark Greiner for all your efforts. We truly appreciate all you have done. With your help, we look forward to continuing to provide a well-maintained park for our community. – Mark Shields, director, Brown County Parks and Recreation
Dec 9, 2021. GUEST OPINION: Feedback needed on draft of parks and rec five-year master plan, by Kara Hammes. According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website, there are many reasons to create a five-year parks and recreation master plan.
- Time for public comment and questions will also be provided at the December 15th meeting of the Brown County Parks Board. The BCPR Board meeting will be held at 5:15pm on Wednesday, December 15th at the BCPRD Office at Deer Run Park:
Comments on the Plan – Including posts from Brown County Matters 2021_12_15 Parks and Rec Master Plan Comments
Email Message – Kara Hammes Monday Dec 6, 2021.
I am sending this e-mail to share that the draft Brown County Parks and Rec 5-Year Master Plan is available for review and public comment. Many of you were directly involved in the development of this plan, while others do work that’s critical to Parks and Rec’s ability to fulfill it’s purpose in the community – either way, thank you.
A lot of work has already gone into collecting data and feedback from the community, and developing the plan to this point, but our final plan is only good if it accurately represents the needs and desires of the Brown County community at large, which is why we’re sharing the plan and asking for anyone that is interested to take some time to review and provide their feedback.
An electronic copy of the plan can be downloaded at www.bcparksrec.com/5-year-plan/. Paper copies are available for review at the Purdue Extension – Brown County Office (802 Memorial Dr) or the Brown County Parks & Rec Office (902 Deer Run Ln, Suite B) during regular business hours (M-F, 8am-4pm)
The first draft of our plan is due to Indiana DNR by January 15, 2022, and the Brown County Parks and Rec Board is accepting written comments and questions until 4pm on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021. Time for public comment and questions will also be provided at the December 15th meeting of the Brown County Parks Board. The BCPR Board meeting will be held at 5:15pm on Wednesday, December 15th at the BCPRD Office at Deer Run Park. A virtual options for attendance at the meeting will also be provided.
I’ve included the write-up that was submitted to the Democrat below, because it has more details about why you should care about this plan, the priorities that were identified, and how to submit any comments or questions you may have. Feel free to forward this e-mail to anyone else that may be interested.
Thanks in advance – I hope to hear from many of you, or see you at our Board meeting on the 15th!
Kara Hammes, MPH
Extension Educator, Health and Human Sciences & Ag and Natural Resources
Brown County Extension Director
Purdue Extension- Brown County
802 Memorial Drive, PO Box 7, Nashville, IN 47448
Write-up submitted to the Brown County Democrat (version that is published will have some edits compared to what is shared below)
According to the Indiana DNR website, there are many reasons to create a 5-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan, including but not limited to:
- Formulating a written framework for future action that acts as a guide for sensible facility and service development
- Providing community input opportunities
- Ensuring that the public actually wants the facilities that are developed
- Providing an opportunity to share information about your programs and facilities with the public
- Giving a clear sense of direction for the park system
- Improving funding opportunities
I have served as a member of the Brown County Parks and Recreation Board for the last 2.5 years (since being hired as the Purdue Extension HHS & ANR Educator in May 2019) and I can confidently say that I whole-heartedly agree with this list of reasons for why we need a 5-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan in Brown County.
It’s for all these reasons and more that I’m excited to share that the Brown County Parks and Recreation Department (BCPRD) is in the final stages of preparing a draft Parks & Recreation 5-Year Master Plan to submit to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for approval, and we need your feedback before we do!
Our first draft is due to DNR by January 15, 2022, and our final report will be submitted prior to April 15, 2022, which will make the Brown County Parks and Recreation Department eligible for Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Grants in 2022.
A lot of work has already gone into collecting data and feedback from the community, and developing the plan to this point, but our final plan is only good if it accurately represents the needs and desires of the Brown County community at large.
What is the Brown County Parks and Rec Department and why should the Master Plan matter to you?
The BCPRD owns and/or manages four properties and over 200 acres of land in Brown County. The primary property is Deer Run Park (72 acres) and the other three are land on SR 135 N (140+ acres), the Salt Creek Trail, and the Sycamore Valley Community Center. In addition to these physical amenities, the BCPRD offers youth and adult sports leagues and other special programming, along with community events like the annual Easter Egg hunt, Trick-or-Treat on the Trail, and more.
Historically, BCPRD facilities and programs have served residents, neighboring communities, and tourists alike, and remains committed to making BCPRD facilities and services available and accessible to anyone, regardless of resident status, ability to pay, or physical/mental ability. However, as part of this planning process the Brown County Parks and Recreation Department and Board are reaffirming our focus and responsibility to specifically serving the citizens and community members of Brown County.
How was the plan and its priorities developed?
Much of the data and input for this master plan was gathered during the “Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces: Creating Healthy Communities” (EVPS:CHC) process – a Purdue University Extension Signature Program which was undertaken in Brown County from late-2019 through mid-2021 and has been covered in more detail previously in the Brown County Democrat.
The EVPS:CHC process consisted of four in-person community “Open Houses” held in September, 2020 (24 attendees), a community survey that was available for response from September-December 2020 (336 responses), and four working groups that met virtually three times between November, 2020 and February, 2021 (22 community participants and 6 Purdue Extension facilitators).
Issues identified based on public, Board, and staff input
Based on all the data, feedback, and suggestions gathered throughout this planning process, the following issues have been identified:
- More programs needed for all ages, going beyond youth-based programs and sports leagues
- More options needed for indoor and year-round community-focused spaces and programming
- Lack of accessibility of facilities, programs and policies
- Addressing long-term maintenance needs of existing amenities and facilities
- Lack of certain desired “signature amenities” within the community (most popular requests include an indoor, multi-purpose sport and community facility; bicycle pump track; outdoor pickleball court(s); splashpad/water feature)
- Limited availability of funding and manpower across the board
- Lack of a safe, multi-use trail to access Deer Run Park via foot, bike, or other non-motorist transportation options
- Lack of a detailed and comprehensive land use plan for Deer Run Park
Proposed 5-Year Master Plan Priorities (2022-2027)
- Finalize a detailed and comprehensive land use plan for Deer Run Park, which should address issues and future plans for (at minimum) the:
- Four lower ball diamonds in the floodway
- Old office building
- Disc golf course
- Additional shelter house(s)
- Maintenance equipment and supply storage
- Possible access points for future multi-use trail from Nashville
- Potential for future “signature amenities”
- Create new educational, experiential, and “life-long learning” programs for people of all ages
- Identify ways to increase accessibility throughout existing facilities and programming. Improvements may need to be phased in for cost reasons, but need to be a priority.
- Increase focus, planning, and fundraising for the development of a safe, multi-use trail to access Deer Run Park via foot, bike, or other non-motorist transportation options.
- Overall greater and more targeted fundraising efforts
How can you help?
All of the data and feedback that was used to identify these issues and priorities – and much more information that’s relevant to BCPRD facilities and programming in the future – is covered in the full Brown County 5-Year Park and Recreation Master Plan and we invite all interested parties to review the plan and provide their comments, suggestions, and other feedback for the BCPR Board’s consideration.
An electronic copy of the plan can be downloaded at www.bcparksrec.com/5-year-plan/ . Paper copies are available for review at the Purdue Extension – Brown County Office (802 Memorial Dr) or the Brown County Parks & Rec Office (902 Deer Run Ln, Suite B) during regular business hours (M-F, 8am-4pm)
Written comments or questions should be submitted by 4pm on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 by either:
- E-mailing: email@example.com
- Mailing to: Brown County Parks & Rec, PO Box 299, Nashville, IN 47448
- Or dropping off in-person to the Brown County Parks & Rec Office, located at Deer Run Park
Time for public comment and questions will also be provided at the December 15th meeting of the Brown County Parks Board. The BCPR Board meeting will be held at 5:15pm on Wednesday, December 15th at the BCPRD Office at Deer Run Park:
902 Deer Run Ln, Suite B
Nashville, IN 47448
A virtual option for attending the meeting will also be provided. Please contact Michelle Mosley at (812) 988-5522 or firstname.lastname@example.org to request the details for the Zoom link.