Parks projects to wrap up this spring


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Once the snow melts away and the temperatures warm up, work can continue on two parks projects in Seymour, officials said.

One is the new Mellencamp Plaza in the downtown and the other is the addition of two baseball/softball diamonds at Freeman Field Recreational Complex.

Both are scheduled to open in early to mid spring.

A third project, the construction of pickleball courts at Gaiser Park, should begin this spring and be complete by early summer. Pickleball is similar to tennis but played with paddles instead of rackets.

Mellencamp Plaza is a pocket park or open green space located in a former parking lot in front of the John Mellencamp mural on the east side of This Old Guitar music store at the corner of Second Street and Indianapolis Avenue.

It was funded by a $50,000 donation from Seymour native and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee John Mellencamp and his family.

Featuring a fenced-in grassy space, the plaza will have bistro style tables and chairs and landscaping to serve as the perfect destination for an outdoor lunch or early dinner.

Construction on the project got underway in October 2020.

Instead of hiring an outside company to create the park, several city departments teamed up to do the work themselves to keep costs down including parks and recreation, the department of public works and water pollution control.

Chad Keithley, with the parks department, is overseeing construction of Mellencamp Plaza as project manager.

Earlier this month, he updated the parks board on the most recent work completed on the plaza.

“The fencing has been put up and seating has been ordered,” he said.

New trash and recycling receptacles also have been placed in the park, he added.

Keithley also provided an update on the progress at the ball diamonds at Freeman Field Recreational Complex.

He said the majority of the dirt work needed for the new diamonds is done.

“The remaining dirt work cannot be completed until it dries up,” he said. “Basically what that is is the finish grade and that’s when we can actually go in and seed it and put the straw down.”

Seeding of the field will begin once the weather gets warmer, he added.

The diamonds are expected to bring more tournaments and teams to Seymour, generating more tourism revenue for the city.

The department already has sought quotes for fencing for the diamonds, which are estimated to cost around $128,000 total.

Originally, the ball diamonds were to be one of three projects funded by a grant from the Jackson County Visitor Center, but the city returned that money because it was not able to complete the work as written in the grant application.

The project is now being funded through a capital bond issued by city council late last year.

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