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Parks getting help from local groups


At least two of Connersville’s smaller parks are in line for some attention this year.

The Connersville Jaycees are working on developing an improvement plan for the Robert J. Long Memorial Park at 2nd Street and Eastern Avenue. The Frazee Elementary School PTO has announced that Frazee Park, north the school, will be the beneficiary of a fund-raising effort.

The Robert J. Long Memorial Park has old playground equipment that needs to be replaced or repaired. There are few trees or shaded spots. The Jaycees helped build the park decades ago and wish to make the park more useful.

According to Jaycees President Brian Durham, a new plan for the park is being developed. The Jaycees are working with the local Purdue Extension office and Fayette County Community Voices.

“We are also working with Purdue University Landscape Design to see what best use for the area we have and how we can make Robert J. Long Memorial Park a focal point of the entrance of the city on the south end of town,” Durham said.

A landscape professor at Purdue has agreed to have some of his students work on possible plans for the park this semester.

Because of the park’s proximity to the Whitewater Valley Railroad, Durham envisions some kind of railroad-themed decor that might make it more attractive to visitors, as well.

He served as a volunteer with the railroad’s Polar Express excursions in December and said he heard several comments from people about the park’s condition as well as ideas for what it could become.

Once a plan is developed, raising funds for improvements will be the next challenge, Durham said. The core planning group is working on ideas for seeking corporate sponsorship or funding in the hope of using that as matching money for a large grant, Durham said.

At Frazee Park, near Frazee Elementary School, 600 W. Third St., the school PTO is trying to raise money by bringing the Harlem Wizards back to Connersville for an exhibition basketball game on April 5.

“This city-owned property is in great need of rehabilitation. Funds raised frm the Wizards event this year will be used toward: new playground equipment, new borders and mulch and a new shelter,” according to a letter from Katherine Good, PTO president, and Jessica Faw, Connersville Parks and Recreation superintendent.

In the past two years, the PTO has raised enough money through the Wizards’ appearance to pay for extensive improvements to the school playground. The group raised more than $12,000 in 2017.

The PTO is seeking event sponsors for the exhibition, in which the Wizards will play a group of local all-stars.