By GARY POPP
Alicia Denney-Haulk, 26, Charlestown, soaked in the sun as her 10-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son splashed about in a sprinkler pad at the area’s newest park.
“I think it is a great addition to the town,” Denney-Haulk said about Charlestown’s Family Activities Park, which was unveiled to the public on Wednesday. “We just wanted to check it out and didn’t want to drive to Clarksville or Jeffersonville or anything like that.”
The facility, which was built around an existing skateboard park — that’s where Denney-Haulk’s son worked up a sweat before splashing in the water — has several features with families in mind.
“This is a unique design, and it is multipurpose for families and designed to be very family friendly,” said Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall, who was at the facility across from Charlestown High School’s football field interacting with community members. “It adds something not only to Charlestown, but, I think, to the region. I don’t know of anything like this in the area.”
In the center of the park, a large wooden structure houses two enclosed areas.
On one side of the building sits a multipurpose room, which can be rented out for private parties and already has several events scheduled. A second room houses utility infrastructure and the facility’s concessions area, which offers hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, sweet treats and soft drinks. A large roof joins the two buildings and creates a shaded, open-air easement where six picnic tables are set up for those looking to escape the sun’s summer rays.
In front of the structure is a pirate-themed playground and the sprinkler pad — created to add a missing water feature to the city’s parks program — where a 15-foot ceramic pirate stands sentry over kids playing below.
The facility also includes a 75-foot-by-150-foot concrete roller skating rink with a large overhead shelter. Hall said the rink can be converted for ice skating by inserting synthetic ice sheets, which will make the park accessible when temperatures drop. With the skating rink’s dual roles, Hall expects it will be available to the public about 10 months out of the year.
On the opposite side of the facility is a large open-grass lawn where Hall said a miniature golf course will be constructed. He said it hasn’t been determined if it will be an 18- or 36-hole course, but he expects it to be completed by July 27.
Plans are to add a digital leader board to show the scores of the those playing on the course to the south side of the park, which faces the miniature gold course. Hall hopes to host winter miniature-golf events to extend the facility’s utility throughout the year.
“It’s been fun,” Hall said of the two years’ worth of work leading up to opening day. “I have enjoyed it. From one standpoint, I’m glad it’s done. But I’ve enjoyed having our city workers and the contractors out here putting the project together.”
Hall said he was happy to finally see the arrival of the project’s most important element: community members.
“It was designed to have kids here, so, today, being able to see the kids does make it special,” he said.
The city will host a private ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening for area leaders July 27.
A second grand opening will be held for the public, but the date has not been set.
The park is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.
Hall said once children go back to school, officials will revise a new parks schedule leading into fall.