Aldermen adopt Prentis Park Master Plan

By Travis Gulbrandson

The Vermillion City Council has adopted a slightly-altered version of Prentis Park Master Plan Concept D, which was unveiled late last year.

The action was taken at the council’s regular meeting Monday night.

“The resolution to adopt a master plan kind of sets our game plan for what we as a community would like to see happen in Prentis Park,” said City Manager John Prescott.

Jim Goblirsch, director of the Department of Parks & Recreation, stressed that although the plan was adopted, it is still conceptual in nature.

“There’s no funding in place, and we’re not asking for funding tonight, but we want to at least have a plan that we can move forth,” he said.

The city has already adopted a resolution allocating $500,000 in reserve funds for the pool project.

“Beyond that, we don’t have any current money allotted for this, but by having a concept of what it is the community, council and staff would like to see happen, it gives us something to take to individuals who either might be interested in donating grants that are out there that maybe want to look for certain items that are planned, or at least anticipated,” Prescott said.

Prescott added that it was said last year how the soonest chance the public might have to vote on the issue would be in November 2014, for a general obligation bond to fund the pool and other amenities.

The concept that was approved Monday night is largely similar to the one presented to council members last month, except that it has a reduced-size parking lot, which Goblirsch said “gave us a little more legroom … near the existing playground area.”

There also is a revised entryway that allows for more space at the baseball field.

Concept D has a separate entrance and exit point off of Prentis Avenue, and it will have an aquatic center drop-off.

The conceptual design has several commonalities with the others, which all were presented to the council and the public last year.

One, it places the active features – such as the sand volleyball and basketball courts – on the west side of the park.

Another feature that is seen on all of the plans is a maintenance building that will be used by the entire park.

The aquatic center is near the center of the park in all four plans, albeit in different configurations.

Concepts A and B had pool and slides in the middle, with the new bath house to the north and the lazy river to the south, while Concepts C and D had the lazy river to the north and the bath house to the south.

The latter two concepts form a kind of shelterbelt around the baseball field, populated with a canopy of trees and buildings.

Goblirsch said that while he does not know exactly how much the project will cost, the pool itself will be the biggest expenditure.

Prescott said with the passage of the resolution Monday, the city could see an outcome similar to what happened with the library.

“By having a schematic of what it was we wanted to see happen with the library, as we know now, a donor stepped forward that really liked the plans that we had,” he said. “So hopefully, by developing a plan and getting that out to the public, we know what we’re aiming for, and we can combine our resources to better … (bring) about the improvements that have been suggested here.”

Goblirsch said that while he does not know how long the existing pool will last, he thinks it could be usable for another two or three years.

That said, he added that there was no way to really know, given how much water the pool leaks each day.

Council member Steve Ward is a member of the pool committee, which he said hopes to start renovation by the summer of 2015.

“I think with the situation with our pool right now, the sooner the better,” Ward said.

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