Plainfield Wins Grant to Help Restore White Lick Creek Banks
After the flooding that took place on Labor Day, 2003, Town Engineer Tim Belcher looked at the damage that had been done to the banks of White Lick Creek and knew they needed to be restored to protect homes, the trail system, and the parks in Plainfield, five of which border the creek. "I was advised by a local engineering consultant, Jeff Healy of Banning Engineering, that some federal money might be available to help us," he said.
Having discovered that there was a federal program within the Department of Agriculture, administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), that provided flood relief, Belcher and Healy wrote a proposal for the grant money. Their goal was to obtain help for flood cleanup and to stabilize the banks of the creek from where the creek crosses Township Line Road to where it goes under a bridge at Hadley Road. "We didn't want to have to do this piecemeal, if we could avoid it," Belcher said. "The creek is one of the town's great amenities."
The construction cost was estimated at $2.7 million. At a ceremony held on Thursday, May 12, the Town and the NRCS signed the cost sharing agreement, of which the federal government will pay just over $2 million and the Town will pay around $700,000. Additional monies may come from the government, however, to pay for engineering and design costs.
Belcher noted that at least one of the problems caused by the flooding is a potential environmental hazard. Shouse Dump, which had been fixed through a 1998 agreement between the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the county, Plainfield, and the Hendricks County Soil and Water Conservation District, has begun to erode again. "The situation needs to be re-stabilized before that original investment is lost," he said. "The fix protected the creek from the landfill's trash. This is a high priority for us."
Crews have already begun some preliminary work. "It may be fall before we can get all the permits necessary to begin construction," said Belcher, "which could be a problem. One of the requirements of the grant is that the project be completed 220 days after the grant is signed. Fortunately, they do allow extensions for reasonable requests, and we think getting the permits would certainly qualify. Although they can take up to 180 days, we're optimistic that the state agencies will work with us to get these issued quickly since they'll know that we have the funding to get them completed." According to Indiana's USDA office, the amount of Plainfield's grant is the largest ever given for a single project in Indiana.
New Recreation Facility Manager Named
Brent Bangel has been named the new Recreation Facility Manager at the Plainfield Recreation and Aquatic Center. Previously he had been a crew leader at the facility.
Bangel graduated from Marian College in 2004 with a degree in sports management and a minor in business administration. He started at the recreation center when it opened in November. "My brother had been a crew leader at Splash Island during the summer, and he told me how much fun he had being a part of it," Bangel said. "I was glad to be able to start at the rec center. It's a great facility." When the Recreation Facility manager position opened up with Tracy Doyle's departure, Bangel applied for the job and was pleased to be selected.
One of the things that Bangel will be looking to do in the future is structure hours for the basketball/volleyball area. "Right now there are no rules for how the gym should be used," he said. "Some people are playing full court, others half court, some want to play volleyball, and with the number of groups that come in, we need some kind of consistency." He said his goal is to have a set schedule like the indoor aquatic center has, so that people will know what can be played when. He expects it will go into effect some time during the summer.
Right now Bangel is getting used to his new responsibilities. "I've been looking through the resident surveys to see what kind of programming rec center patrons want," he said. "I've also been staffing up to keep the place clean inside and out during the summer. It's the first thing everyone notices when they get here." Bangel expects that the opening for Splash Island for the summer season will bring increased traffic into the recreation center, not just outside.
One thing that has impressed Bangel is just how much the facility is used. "My first weekend in the new job, I had to get the place ready for post-prom," he said. "That was a big job. It's really a good example of how much this facility is for the town."