Board to vote on Westside Park improvements and splash pad

The Seymour Parks and Recreation Department board has scheduled a vote in May on whether a park on the city’s west side will receive some long-needed upgrades and improvements.

Parks and Recreation Director Stacy Findley unveiled improvement plans for Westside Park, located at 920 Jackson St., Seymour, during the department’s board meeting Monday.

Possible projects include a new playground, a 40-car parking lot and improvements to the shelter house, basketball courts, restrooms, electrical work and lighting. A splash pad might also be in the works there.

The 4-acre park presently contains a shelter house, a playground, a basketball court, a ball diamond and a picnic area. It does not have any restrooms.

The improvements to the park will cost approximately $954,621. From that total, a new splash pad and its installation will cost $250,000. A new playground with installation and new flooring will cost another $284,629.

This total is not concrete, Findley said, but the project will come in under a million dollars. Her hopes are that the project will cost between $700,000 and $800,000.

“Coming forth with a new idea, I would rather say it costs almost a million dollars and the project comes in at $700,000 just because right now, you don’t know with construction costs that go up and down,” she said.

Board member Kendra Zumhingst asked if it would be possible to do all of the improvements to the park without adding a splash pad, and Findley said she was presenting the improvements with a splash pad because she felt the park was the best location for it based on the city’s current parks system.

Bethany Rust, another board member, said she only got negative feedback about putting a splash pad at Westside Park, and downtown Seymour was highly recommended as an alternative location.

Findley said she thought there would be logistical problems with having a splash pad downtown, including parking availability or a lack of a place for people to change.

Mayor Matt Nicholson said it’s possible for the board to acquire land to add to the city’s parks system, but it might be a challenge to find available property at an affordable price.

Board President Monica Riley asked if the board had the funding to improve Westside Park, and Findley said she will be looking for grants and other additional funding once the project is approved.

Nicholson said there are financial opportunities, including grants, that will come up within the next 18 months that could help fund the project.

The park board’s next meeting is at 4 p.m. May 9 in the council chambers at Seymour City Hall, 301-309 N. Chestnut St.