No swimming at Fowler Park for 2014

(WTHI Photo)
(WTHI Photo)

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Even on a dreary, overcast and chilly day in March, Vigo County’s Fowler Park is still picturesque.

Before too long, the park will be filled with bikers, hikers and campers. Those folks normally love to swim in the park’s ruble lake. But unfortunately, swimming here is out for 2014.

That’s because work must be done to the park’s dam. It was built in the 1950s and the parks department says it’s behind the times.

“There’s new regulations that have come out over the last coupe of years, especially since the flood of 2008.” Assistant Superintendent Adam Grossman is overseeing this project.

Here’s part of what he says needs to be done to the dam:

  • Replace main spillway pipe
  • Add a new emergency draw down system
  • Install a secondary spillway
  • Reduce slope around the dam from 3 to 1 and sometimes even 2 to 1 to a 4 to 1 pitch

Grossman expects the project to cost $400-$600,000.

“We’re in the design phase. It will actually be going out for bid hopefully in the next month or two.”

Frequent visitors to Fowler Park will notice that this project has already begun.

The parks department, because of state regulations, was forced to take out about 12 trees near the dam, including some iconic sycamore trees. For the Vigo County Parks Department, that’s the heart-breaking part of this project.

“Some really nice sycamores that have been the backdrop of our Pioneer Village for years,” said Grossman.  “Unfortunately, they were right on top of the dam.”

The good that will come out of this is that this will greatly reduce flooding concerns, not only for the park, but the surrounding area.

And yes, swimming will be back in 2015.  Construction will begin in July and wrap up sometime in October.

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