Park board mulls options

Eiffel Tower sculpture, outdoor movie nights, disc golf all possible future attractions

By GARY HENRY ghenry@prairiepress.net
Posted 4/5/21

Both previous and new ideas were topics of discussion during the Tuesday, March 30, Paris Park Board meeting.

Linda Lane, retiring executive director of the Paris Area Chamber of Commerce & …

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Park board mulls options

Eiffel Tower sculpture, outdoor movie nights, disc golf all possible future attractions

Posted

Both previous and new ideas were topics of discussion during the Tuesday, March 30, Paris Park Board meeting.

Linda Lane, retiring executive director of the Paris Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, updated park board members regarding the effort to create a 20-foot-tall Eifel Tower in Paris as a photo-op site for visitors and residents. She said local rancher and metal artisan John Chittick presented two models for the tower committee to consider.

One model had the familiar Eifel Tower shape and was painted orange and black.

“We didn’t want that,” Lane said about the committee’s reaction.

The second model featured a more abstract approach. Instead of straight sides with lattice work, this model used a gentle twisting shape to the sides and was colored in a shade of blue. Park board members had a positive reaction to the second model’s unique look.

“Out next project is deciding where to put it,” said Lane. “We are looking at Kiwanis Park where there is a nice open area.”

Other details of how to anchor the structure and if it should be lighted by in-ground spotlights or have an interior lighting system are yet to be determined.

Chris Redman, city superintendent of streets, alleys and parks, voiced support for Kiwanis Park as the location.

“I think it is better than Sylvian,” said Redmon.

A previous presentation about the tower idea suggested placing it in Sylvian Park, but Redman had reservations considering the multiple underground utilities going to and from the water tower in that park.

Lane again assured park board members that fund raising is expected to cover the project costs. She said Chittick has volunteered to make the local version of an Eifel Tower and is only asking reimbursement for materials, which are currently estimated at between $4,000 and $6,000.

“I think a realistic time frame for getting this finished is next spring,” said Lane.

Danny Wayne and his wife, Cathy, made a presentation about the potential use of their entertainment business in the park system.

“Cathy and I have been providing entertainment in Edgar County since the early ’90s,” said Wayne, who is a fixture in the Terre Haute, Ind., radio scene.

While their main emphasis has been DJ service providing music for weddings and other events, they have expanded with the ability to show outdoor films using large inflatable screens. One of their local customers is Horizon Health, which has sponsored free, outdoor movie nights in the past.

The Waynes said cost varies depending on the film being shown. Cathy Wayne said older films that are considered part of the public domain have little to no-cost for use. More contemporary movies have a fee that averages about $400 for a single showing with an additional $100-$200 for a second showing.

There is also the rental cost for the screens, rear-screen projection equipment and a sound system.

“You are looking at about $900 for an evening,” said Danny Wayne. “It’s a turn-key operation. We take care of everything.”

Cathy Wayne suggested sponsorships could help offset costs if the expense is too much for the park board budget. Board president Cliff Macke agreed, noting Horizon Health uses the West Lake when it does a movie night for the community and other organizations could do the same.

Discussion identified Sunrise Park and Twin Lakes Park as the most likely locations for such an event.

At least one local resident has a vision for a new sports feature. Macke reported being contacted by a disc golf enthusiast asking for a disc golf course with the suggestion such an addition would attract visitors, especially if tournaments are hosted in the park.

The idea was continued for more research into costs.

Park board member Casey Redman said the Holiday in the Park committee has identified a need for a tree-shaped lighted display. Previous discussion confirmed there is not an official and decorated Christmas tree in the West Lake Park during the winter illumination.

Casey Redman said committee members favor having a metal framework with lights as opposed to the need to decorate a real tree. Chris Redman said city workers can probably fabricate such a device.

In a matter related to Holiday in The Park, Chris Redman said an engineer with Ameren is looking into getting more electrical service in the west area of the loop drive to accommodate more displays.

“We are trying to come up with something,” said Chris Redman.

Security cameras were discussed by park board member Tom Tuttle as a way of combatting park vandalism.

Tuttle said there are two ways to go. He used the camera system at the school district’s revamped sports field along Buena Vista Street as an example. Those cameras are connected to the Internet giving school officials the ability to access them at anytime from anywhere to monitor activity.

A simpler approach, Tuttle said, is the system used at the Edgar County Airport, where he is the manager. This method has cameras feeding recording data into a central recording device.

“I think just having it would be a deterrent,” said Tuttle.

Chris Redman agreed, noting the problem will be in getting the cameras high enough and the wiring secured in a way that prevents the stealing of both.

No decision was made on adding security cameras, although several park board members identified the East Lake beach as a prime area where security cameras are needed because of the high rate of vandalism at the location.