Golf outing to provide accessible playground equipment in Seymour parks


A lot of progress has been made by the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department in recent years to ensure city park facilities are accessible to all.

Funds raised from the Cars and Guitars car show and concert have resulted in accessible playground equipment being installed in parks, and The Arc of Jackson County already covered the cost of installing a piece of playground equipment at Gaiser Park and is in the process of purchasing another one.

A $900,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Health also was a huge boost in buying accessible equipment for Kasting, Westside, Gaiser and Shields parks and Freeman Field Recreational Complex to install this year.

Plus, the Seymour Swing Putting for Parks golf outing has brought in $20,000 the past two years, allowing the department to complete the new playground at Shields Park.

The third annual golf outing is coming up Aug. 11 at Shadowood Golf Course in Seymour.

Chad Keithley, program director for the parks department, said he’s shooting for raising enough money to purchase more Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant playground equipment for Shields and Gaiser parks and be able to go from mulch around the playground at Shields Park to a poured-in-place rubber surfacing.

“We’ve had two phases now at Gaiser, and we’re working on Phase 3, which will make that playground even bigger,” he said. “We will be adding some more swings and some musical instruments.”

He said the flooring costs around $20,000, and once it’s in place, people of all abilities will be able to access the playground equipment.

The golf outing is the only fundraiser parks and rec does for this purpose.

“Actually, this will probably be the last year that this will go toward ADA-compliant (equipment) because with our IDOH grant, we’re getting all of that in, so what we’ll do is we’ll continue and hope to carry this on, but our fourth annual will start going to our park foundation board,” Keithley said. “We can give scholarships to kids and do other different things there because then that’s a 501(c)(3).”

If a child can’t afford to enroll in a program or league offered by parks and rec, the foundation money could be used to cover that and also cover expenses like umpires.

“My plan was try to have it done in three years,” Keithley said of installing ADA-compliant playground equipment and flooring at all city parks.

“Especially after last year when we found out we were going to get the IDOH grant, I knew that this year could be working everything together,” he said. “We’ll have new playgrounds at Kasting, Westside, Freeman, more at Gaiser, more at Shields, and the only one that won’t have any poured-in-place would be Kessler, but that’s something we can work on in the future through our park foundation.”

The cost to enter the golf outing is $75 per player or $300 for a team of four. Tee time is 8 a.m. Secure a spot by contacting Keithley at 812-523-5888 or [email protected] by July 28.

“Our first year when I started this, we had 12 teams sign up. Last year, we had 15 teams, so my goal this year is to try to get 20, but if we could max out at the 26, 30 teams, that would be phenomenal,” he said.

There will be longest putt, longest drive and closest to the pin contests, and Keithley is still accepting hole sponsorships.

“In the past, they’ve been great. This year, they are kind of down,” he said of hole sponsorships. “Of course, we’ve still got time. I’ve still been hitting all of the local businesses personally. I don’t mail anything out. It’s going up and handing (sponsorship forms) out to each one.”

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