(AVOCA) – On Saturday afternoon several people attended the Marshall Township Park & Picnic Area fundraiser. The proceeds will help with the operating costs of the facilities.
The park will need a lot of funds to keep up with park maintenance and there are several things that are in need of repair and rehabilitation throughout the park, according to officials.
In addition, mowing, keeping trails clear, and working on ponds are other important features of the park that will need to be maintained.
“Work on the park started about June of this year, with many throughout the community taking part in finding what needed to be taken care of and it was done,” said Mike Holmes of Avoca. “There were around 30 people volunteering over the last few months to help get the grounds looking good.”
In December of 2019, the Marshall Township advisory board and the trustee were awarded $125,000 from Rural Opportunities Initiatives to establish a county-wide parks foundation and to make improvements.
The grant award is only a small portion of what will be needed for the sustainability of the park and picnic area. The property has been transferred to Marshall Township. A more detailed plan of finances and a plan in which projects need to be prioritized is not complete.
From 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Saturday, many turned out to enjoy a good meal and give donations that will be used for several projects.
Music was played by Tim English, Kathy Baker, and Greg Baker while many enjoyed a dinner of beans, cornbread, and deserts.
Park History and Background
The Marshall Township Park, formerly the Avoca Fish Hatchery, was built in 1819 and first served as a grist mill until 1919 when it was purchased by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources who began building ponds in 1923.
The grist mill was a spring fed turbine water-wheel gristmill fitted with three sets of buhr stones to grind wheat, corn, and chop feed.
The Avoca Fish Hatchery stocked Indiana’s waters for fish for years until it was decommissioned in 2016.
The park area has several features that are beneficial to the community that can be used for all kinds of recreation use including walking and hiking. There is a shelter house on the property that can be used for family reunions and other events.
The Hamer House that sits on the property is said to have been a stagecoach waystation. The Hamer Brothers built a large two-story colonial-style house near the spring in 1823. The upstairs room at that residence would later become a general store.
The National Youth Adminstration was stationed at Avoca Fish Hatchery from 1935 – 1942. During that period the improvements to Avoca Fish Hatchery was one of the longest National Youth Adminstration projects. The National Youth Adminstration built the shelter house with limestone walls and a limestone fireplace.
Also, NYA constructed trails which were enhanced with a stone entrance, steps, overlook, and bridge.
Future of Park
Marshall Township recently received the transfer of the property. Detailed plans for how the public will be able to use the park is still in its infancy.
There will be several meetings and planning events that will take place to be able to address what can be done with the financial resources that are currently available to the group. Grants will be applied for in the future to help with some of those needs.
“The possibilities for the park are endless, and it is great that the community gets to keep this park in our community,” Mike Holmes concluded.
To stay updated on events, projects and fundraising needs go to the Marshall Township Park and Picnic Facebook page.