VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– The lights are still out at the Ouabache Trails Park.
The park has been dealing with electrical issues since June, and it closed indefinitely last week as repairs took place to bring back power. Knox County parks and recreation superintendent Rhonda Foster said the park is still closed, as weather has caused delays in repairs.
It was just one project that faced setbacks, as the Knox County jail construction also suffered what county commissioner T.J. Brink called “minor setbacks” with supply chain and construction problems.
Brink said at the commissioner’s meeting on Tuesday, officials were told three electrical boxes will need to be placed at a different location on site.
“We’re going to have to move those new, incoming boxes to another location. It’s not just a simple, put a box here, put a box there, there’s a lot of standards and things we have to make sure [to follow,]” Brink said.
The project has a $1.1 million contingency fund set aside for potential issues like this, and that will be used to pay any additional cost these changes might bring.
“Of course you never want to be dipping into the contingency fee two percent into the project but at the same point in time that’s why we have it there,” he said.
Brink also said supply chain issues may cause delays for the timeline, but that was to be determined.
“It’s not something you can just go to Lowe’s and pickup the equipment that you need, these are special pieces that you have to special order and are premade before they come on site,” he said.
And more changes are coming for the park. Restoring the power is seen as a short-term fix for the problem, and the park is looking to work with Duke Energy to completely replace the electrical infrastructure.
“There’s the short term fix, which is we want to get the electrical back on now and make sure it’s safe and ready to go for now,” he said. “The long term plan is that we’re going to need to redo the electrical at the entire park.”
Brink said the project will be costly.
“The permanent solution fix is going to be costly, we know that going in. The short term fix is very, it’s upward of $50,000 right now,” he said.
Foster said she’s hoping to receive funding from the American Rescue Plan Act money that the county has to help with the repairs.
“We’re hoping to request some of the ARPA funds that have come our way in this county. We’re basically counting on those funds to come through and help us with this repair,” she said. “I will be looking at other grants, other funding, which are there, we do qualify, however, it is such a lengthy process that we would not see any of those funds until 2024. We need to make the repair now. That’s why we’re really counting on the ARPA funds to come in and help us with this. “
Foster said the department will meet with Duke Energy on Monday, August 8th to begin the process of finding out how much the replacement will cost, which will take several weeks.
Brink said the county is committed to helping the park.
“Our parks are vital. Parks are extremely important to communities,” he said. “We don’t have a mall, We don’t have some of the bigger infrastructures, but we have great parks.”