JASPER, IN (WFIE) - When a city builds a park, they build it for the people who use it. Saturday morning's grand opening of the Jasper Parklands takes that "for the people" mantra to a whole new level.
The Jasper Parklands are a 75-acre nature park that officials described as being unlike anything else in the area.
"What you see here is a little different than any other park," said Roger Seger, the president of the Jasper Park Board. "You're not going to see a lot of the same amenities here that you're going to see at a lot of other parks."
The Parklands project began in 2012 after the city of Jasper decided to purchase the land that formerly held the Jasper Country Club's golf course. From there, a five year period of planning, designing, and coming up with funds progressed until ground broke on the project in May of 2017.
In the early stages of planning, officials say the park would cost roughly $8 million, but the city only had a budget of approximately $4 million. That's where the "Jasper Way," as Mayor Terry Seitz called it, came into play.
"[We] made no phone calls," said Mayor Seitz. "The gifts and ideas and concepts. What do you need? That's the question we got asked, and I like that approach."
"It's neat when you don't even solicit the funds from the public, and a third of your park is donated or paid for by the public," said Seger.
John Nelson, a park visitor, says the number of things to do in the park is a huge draw for him as well as the proximity to his home.
"It's very picturesque. There's things for the small kids; play at the water fountains. There's something for everybody. It beautiful to look at. We're already planning our next trip here," Nelson said.
"Just knowing that it's right here and convenient is the best thing. You don't have to drive an hour to get here. We live here. We're right here in Dubois County, so we'll be able to enjoy it quite frequently."
Officials say this park is one for everyone to enjoy from young kids to adults.