Crothersville has two parks, and the five members of the town’s parks board want people to use them.
Since the board was re-established at the beginning of the year, a lot of upgrades have been made to Countryside Park and Bard Street Park, drawing local residents and out-of-towners to check out the improvements.
For progress to continue, it takes money, because the board operates on only a $7,000 budget.
A couple of fundraisers have brought in additional revenue, and the board has high hopes with its third one — BBQ in the Ville.
The barbecue cookoff starts the night of Oct. 21 and continues from noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 22 at Bard Street Park. Saturday is the deadline to register and pay the $25 entry fee.
People can attend the event and purchase food, listen to music, enter raffles and enjoy other activities.
“Since this is our first year doing this, we have no idea what the turnout will be, but we appreciate everyone that comes out to support the parks,” said Ron Foster, president of the parks board.
Board member Brent Turner said a Facebook event page he created has drawn a lot of interest from people in the area and even out of state. Some of them have attended parks board meetings to provide input.
“I knew a lot of people that like to do the barbecue, and we figured it would just make a good fundraiser,” Turner said. “A lot of people took interest in it, so I think it’s going to work out pretty good.”
Entry forms are available from any parks board member, at Crothersville Town Hall or printed from the BBQ in the Ville Facebook page.
The contest has four categories — ribs, pork, brisket and chicken. There must be one head cook and no more than four assistants at any given time — all at least 21 years old.
First place will receive a trophy and a percentage of their entry fee, while second and third place each will receive a trophy.
Live music will be provided Friday night and throughout the day Saturday. Vendors will sell barbecue pork and chicken sandwiches for $3.50 or a sandwich with two sides for $6 with proceeds going to the parks board.
“We hope to make this an annual event,” Foster said.
The parks board plans to use the money to purchase more playground equipment and build a new restroom facility at Bard Street Park.
The board also hopes to do landscaping and place picnic tables and a grill at the site of the old town hall between Main and Howard streets near Lucille’s Home Cookin’.
“That would provide a place for any of their customers that want to enjoy the outdoors while eating their meal,” Foster said. “It would also be a good place for the walkers around town to stop and have a rest.”
Once the parks board formed, a work day was conducted at Countryside Park for basic cleanup, spreading gravel and working on bleachers.
During another work day, dugouts and bleachers were cleaned, fences were mended, grass was mowed and a few repairs were made to prepare for the youth baseball and softball season.
Since then, a picnic area with horseshoe pits, a children’s playhouse and picnic tables has been constructed, and town employees made a walking trail through the woods for the public and local sports teams to use. Improvements also were made to lighting and a building housing a concession stand and restrooms at the park.
At Bard Street Park, a sign, a couple of play structures, volleyball and soccer nets, a flagpole and some wooden benches have been added. Also, picnic tables in the shelter house were cleaned and repaired, grills were placed and the basketball court was resurfaced.
The exterior of a building that used to house restrooms at Bard Street Park has been painted, and the inside is being cleared for a new parks office and storage building.
The previous two fundraisers brought in about $260. The board hopes to bring in even more with BBQ in the Ville to continue its work at the parks.
“Seeing kids playing in the park and families gathering under the shelter house for birthday parties, dinners and even a wedding has made every minute of work worth it,” Foster said.
“We have seen more people in the parks than have used them in years, and that was the goal,” he said. “Brent Turner, Matt Browning, Chris Cooper, Linda Luedeman and I had a goal in the beginning of this adventure, and that was to make a safe place for the kids in town to enjoy without leaving town. We have a good start but have much more work to do.”
The Crothersville Parks Board consists of five volunteer members: Ron Foster, Christopher Cooper, Brent Turner, Matthew Browning and Linda Luedeman.
The board meets on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at Crothersville Town Hall, 111 E. Howard St. The public is invited.
What: BBQ in the Ville, featuring a barbecue cookoff, food, music, raffles, a bounce house and activities
When: Noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 22 (cooking starts the night of Oct. 21)
Where: Bard Street Park along East Bard Street in Crothersville
Who: Organized by the Crothersville Parks Board
Cost: $25 to enter the barbecue cookoff (due Saturday; entry forms available from parks board members, at Crothersville Town Hall or from the BBQ in the Ville Facebook page); public admitted free, but food and raffle tickets will be available for purchase
Information: Search for “BBQ in the Ville” on Facebook