is raising funds
to develop John Paul Park
Brass Band to
perform as part of fundraiser
(June 2012) Madison, Ind., boasts a beautiful riverfront
park in its Bicentennial Park, where major festivals are held, and an
expansive recreational park in Rucker Sports Complex on the hilltop.
But plans are under way to establish and upgrade an even older park
site in the downtown by expanding John Paul Park, named for the citys
photo by Don Ward
Paul Park was established
in 1904 in Madison and named
for the citys founder.
A fundraising campaign continues toward making the plans
come to fruition.
The John Paul Park has meant so much to children over the years,
says Jill Keller, president of the John Paul Park Conservancy. We
hope those who still have good memories of playing at the park will
step forward to keep it going for todays children.
The Conservancy has big plans for the park. Adding to the already established
recreational uses, the Conservancy plans to create an amphitheater for
open air events and a nature center for exploring water and meadow life.
We have the plans; we have the vision; we need the funding,
The Cincinnati Brass Band returns for the annual fundraiser for the
John Paul Park on June 23 at 7 p.m. The concert offers a lively range
of music and the opportunity to support the park. Admission is free,
but donations toward the park development will be collected at intermission.
The Conservancy hopes to make significant progress toward raising awareness
in the community of all the park will offer and to encourage community
members to contribute.
Keller notes the Master Plan calls for park development to take three
phases. Phase I to reinforce the hill. Every time heavy rains
fall, the hill erodes a bit more. Critical to saving the park will be
reinforcing the hill. More than just a engineering feat, Keller notes
the reinforcement will broaden the scope of the park. The plan calls
for adding amphitheater seating on the hillside with an amphitheater
at the bottom of the hill. The theater will expand the parks offerings
to include art shows, plays and other productions.
Phase II to create a nature center. The park,
located along both a creek and meadow, offers the perfect setting for
nature walks and more in-depth nature study. Larry DeBuhr, with the
Rivers Institute at Hanover College, serves on the planning board and
says he looks forward to all the park can contribute to nature study.
A walking trail with interpretive signs would allow parents and
teachers alike to explore trees, insects and water life along the trail,
he said. Further, creation of a shelter would offer teachers a
living laboratory for classroom instruction in nature and ecology.
He hopes the facilities will meet the Indiana State Curriculum Guidelines
to qualify for outdoor instruction making the park a significant addition
for classrooms and summer camps alike.
Phase III to re-landscape the upper portion of the park. At the
parks opening in 1904, the states making up the 13 original colonies
each donated a state tree to the park. Only four trees are still living.
The Master Plan calls for landscaping the upper portion to recapture
the original beauty and history of the park.
Keller gratefully acknowledges the support and encouragement of the
City of Madison and notes that the Conservancy and Madison are working
closely together to achieve a vision that will take the long-appreciated
recreational value of the park and expand it into the arts, history
and educational future of Madison. She says the park was once a central
part of downtown and community life, but many have lost interest. Keller
hopes that the expansion will reignite interest in the park creating
a draw for a variety of groups.
But it all depends on the funding, says Keller.
Keller has seen some funding flow from families who grew up in the area
of Madison surrounding the park. To honor loved ones, families have
stepped forward to sponsor elements of the parks development.
One family has offered to purchase the fountain. Others have contributed
toward the nature center. Keller said she hopes this trend will continue.
Keller would like to see businesses and individuals alike make a commitment
to supporting park development. So many adults have memories of
playing soft ball on that field. Decades later they still recall playing.
We need them to step forward now and contribute to the future of the
park for future childrens memories.
All donations to the Conservancy are tax deductible, which Keller hopes
will encourage more community members to contribute. She knows these
are tough times, and many people contribute to causes which feed or
house those who are needy. Yet, the park needs attention now, she says.
The Master Plan requires $3.5 million in funding. Work cannot begin
until funds are raised. Keller asks those who remember the parks
contribution to Madisons history and who believe in what it can
offer the future to step forward.
For more information or to contribute,
contact the John Paul Park Conservancy, Inc., P.O. Box 338, Madison,
Back to June 2012 Articles.