Charlestown State Park

Charlestown Park master plan
includes lodge, marina

State officials hope money can be found
to develop park as soon as possible

‘These are things that could happen in the park.’
– John Gilkey, Clark-Floyd tourism office

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(October 2007) – A park lodge and marina topped the list of amenities that state officials hope to establish someday at the Charlestown State Park in Charlestown, Ind. That’s according to a recent survey of area residents and according to the state’s master plan for developing the park on Hwy. 62 along the Ohio River.

Charlestown State Park Map

Photo provided

A map shows the areas within
Charlestown State Park to be included
in the master plan for future
development. The shaded area would
possibly include a lodge, marina
and an aquatic center.

Residents and visitors were invited to an open house on Sept. 19 at Charlestown State Park to view details of the master plan. Among the possibilities included in the plan are an aquatic center, a lodge, a marina, cabins for camping and more trails.
“These are things that could happen in the park, now we have to work on making them happen,” said John Gilkey, director of communications for Clark-Floyd Counties Convention and Tourism Bureau.
During the open house, the public was invited to watch a PowerPoint presentation and view several large maps that showed possibilities for future development of the park.
“We were happy with the turnout and with the comments we received on the master plan,” said Gilkey, who helped officials to acquire the initial land for the park. “The lodge and marina were major priorities for most people.”
Over the summer a local group, River Ridge Resort Committee, conducted a survey of 1,000 people and found the top item of interest in development of Charlestown Park was the addition of a lodge. Next was a marina. So those findings were totally in line with comments during the open house, said Gilkey.
Representatives from landscape architectural firm Rundell Ernstberger Associates LLC, the group working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources on the park development, answered questions or concerns about the plans. Carl Kincaid, project manager for the company, said there is no target date at this point for development. Instead, officials are collecting feedback and working to put together a master plan booklet. After that, phases will be put on the project as the appropriate funding is secured.
In 1995, the state began developing the park on land occupied by the closed Indiana Army Ammunition Plant. Charlestown State Park was opened in October 1996. It began with 2,339 acres and has since added 2,761 from the decommissioned depot. A popular fishing spot, Fourteen Mile Creek, flows through the center of the park. Several trails run through the park and showcase the area’s cliffs, wetlands and creeks.
The park’s campground was opened in 1999, and it was expanded in 2002. In addition to hiking, fishing and camping, there are picnic areas with restroom facilities, playground equipment, shelters and playfields.
Earlier this summer, a new boat ramp and landing area were built in the park. The landing cost $2.8 million and consists of a 75-foot-wide boat ramp, two observation decks, more than 100 parking spaces and a paved road to the ramp. About $2 million of the funds came from the state, while a U.S. Fish and Wildlife grant provided $750,000.
Several new trails that take advantage of a variety of natural environments are being added to the park, and more camping is also being planned. Gilkey said the entire community is behind development of the park. Charlestown city officials would love to see an aquatic center and expanded camping.
“Because we are within a one-tank radius of millions of people, the potential for tourism and economic development is tremendous.”
With the new master plan in place, the DNR will establish priorities and make the phases. A private-public partnership for the development of the lodge may be one possibility officials will consider, said Gilkey.
Gilkey said Rivers Ridge wants the DNR to make Charlestown Park the premier park property in Indiana and the Midwest.
“We need to aim high in order to achieve great success,” he said. “But this is a long-term project; it will take some time.”

Back to October 2007 Articles.



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