Upgrades to park focus of new fund

A Morgan County woman wants to see Sparksville Park in Carr Township continue to improve and thrive.

To do so, Suzanne Mittenthal said she needs the help from the community.

A fund was recently opened through the Community Foundation of Jackson County for anyone who wants to make a contribution to go toward upgrades.

At the request of Dan Davis, the foundation’s president and CEO, the fund was established by the Jackson County commissioners in October.

“We’re just happy to help folks meet their goal of helping out in the community,” Davis said.

Mittenthal said Sparksville Park serves a dual purpose because it offers visitors a chance to enjoy activities there and serves as a resting and camping area for hikers using the Knobstone Hiking Trail.

That trail is Indiana’s longest footpath with 58 miles available for backcountry hiking through the Clark State Forest, Elk Creek Public Fishing Area and Jackson-

Washington State Forest, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Sparksville Park, in the far southwestern corner of the county, was established in the early 2000s after Jackson County farmer Greg McPike donated the land in 2004. The county accepted ownership of the 8.59-acre park on Jan. 11, 2005.

The park offers a public-use area for celebrations, outdoor activities and a resting area for bikers.

“It serves all kinds of users,” Mittenthal said.

Over the years, a parking lot, a covered picnic pavilion, a volleyball net, a basketball area and other amenities have been added.

The improvements have been made possible with the help of Knobstone Hiking Trail Association Inc., which includes as members Mittenthal and others like Edith Boling of Norman.

The nonprofit organization wants to add memorial benches from benefactors, which can cost up to $450. There are also additional playground equipment needed and a riding lawn mower requiring some repairs. There’s also some other upgrades in the works.

“This is something to make the Sparksville people proud,” Mittenthal said. “They have supported it very much.”

Besides the park improvements, the organization is dedicated to preserving, maintaining and finishing the Knobstone Trail, connecting it to the top of the ridge above Sparksville.

The group is actively working toward receiving permission for the last easement of five from a property owner.

“It would contribute grand views of the surrounding river valleys, a lovely ridge walk and take the trail off three miles of road walking in the area north of Sparksville,” Mittenthal said.

Davis said anyone can make a donation, which is generally a tax-deductible contribution. For questions or information on how to make a payment, call 812-523-4483.

The other county-owned park is at Walnut and Jackson streets, on the east side of Brownstown.

At a glance

For information or to donate, call the Community Foundation of Jackson County at 812-523-4483.

Pull Quote

“This is something to make the Sparksville people proud. They have supported it very much.”

Suzanne Mittenthal, on further development of Sparksville Park