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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

New Reelsville Park Board developing recreation area

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

An elderly couple sits at a table under the shade of a wood shelter house. They enjoy a picnic lunch while their grandchildren play in the playground.

Meanwhile, men and women of varying ages run, jog and walk on the nearby trails which swivel around the surrounding little league diamonds and into the woods.

Although this may not be a such a common scene at Reelsville Elementary now, a group of area volunteers hope to soon make the vision a reality.

Jim Burdge is a member of the newly formed Reelsville Park Board.

Working with grants and donations, the board hopes to create a place for Reelsville residents to go for exercise and recreation.

"Serving the entire Reelsville community is our main goal," he said.

When finished, approximately 4,000 feet of exercise trails will make up what Burdge called Reelsville Community Park.

Plans created by the group are broken into three phases. Contractors have begun work on the first leg of the project, putting down gravel on a path which starts between the two easternmost diamonds and runs southwest in a horseshoe, ending back at the school.

This first phase cost approximately $5,000, Burdge said.

The other phases, which will include graveling the paths which run around the rest of the diamonds and back into the woods to the west of the youth league fields should cost another $5,000 combined.

Eventually, Burdge said the board would like to pave parts of the trails. However, that could be years down the road, as work can only take place little by little, as the group gains funding.

"Our five-year goal is to have all of the track and nature trails under asphalt," he said.

He explained all of the money for construction has come from grants from local businesses, township government and utilities and emphasized none of the project is subsidized even in part by South Putnam schools, and no school employee labor is used.

Plans also call for the nature trail to include tree identification markers and other educational elements. Two-thirds of those trails have already been laid in the past 15 years, but will have to be cleared and made ready for use by the public.

"They need to be enhanced up to the grade where people can walk on them," he said. Burdge said the approximately 250 elementary school students and the 300 youth ballplayers would probably be the first to benefit from the track and its nature instructive features. But he reiterated, the park is intended for everyone in Reelsville.

With the nearest fitness and recreation facilities miles away, he pointed out, there is no convenient place for residents to exercise or relax.

"It is a place where the local community can get off the beaten road and enjoy themselves," he said.

The board, which has the blessing of Reelsville Elementary and South Putnam School Corporation is its own community entity, he explained.

Eleven members are appointed by the South Putnam School Board, Reelsville Elementary school administrators, Jefferson Township Fire Department, and the Reelsville Youth League.

"We are attempting to get the whole community's input on (what the facility will be)," he said.

"Our priority is to accommodate the community with facilities where they can exercise and be entertained in a safe atmosphere," he said.

To donate to the project, contact the Reelsville Elementary School administration office at (765) 672-4248.

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