The Foundation Park Conservancy, in partnership with the City of Mount Vernon, has completed a variety of improvements since spring at Ariel-Foundation Park.
Park Manager Scott Zimmerman has overseen these recent developments. New trees and mulch have been added to the Tree of Life™ labyrinth; a variety of new signage, including kiosks that will be filled with park and trail maps, has been added throughout; a new heating/cooling system has been installed at the Community Foundation Pavilion; Wi-Fi has been added at the Urton Clock House; electric and lighting have been installed at the First-Knox National Bank Pavilion; bollard lighting is now along the walkway from the Kiwanis Pavilion to the First-Knox Pavilion; and the CA&C Depot is now open seven days a week.
Perhaps among the most important of recent upgrades is the addition of several surveillance cameras in an effort to minimize vandalism. Some cameras are easily visible; others are in more obscure areas. Footage from the cameras can be monitored on cell phones at any time, is backed up and can quickly and easily be shared with area law enforcement. It has already proved a valuable addition as law enforcement is currently reviewing footage of recent vandalism to the Schnormeier Event Center for eventual prosecution.
“Knox County residents don’t always realize or appreciate what we have in the Park,” said Zimmerman. “I’m out here every day and see people from other states and other countries visiting our park on a regular basis. We have a world-class facility that draws guests from all over. I’m proud to be part of making this an even better and safer place.”
Still left on the list of items the Conservancy hopes to complete before park closure in November are hydro-seeding several grassy areas near the Urton Clock House, stabilization of an old wall of the Coxey Building in The Ruins, adding conifer shade trees along the Event Center parking lot and adding some safety measures around the River of Glass and installation of additional bollard lighting on sidewalks near the Clock House/Ruins. Funds have also been donated for the construction of a handicapped accessible boat/fishing dock.
“We have been very pleased with media coverage of Ariel-Foundation Park which has resulted in a number of visitors from throughout the U.S. ‘discovering’ the Park, community bike trails and our downtown. There is no doubt Ariel-Foundation Park is having a positive economic and cultural impact to our community,” said Foundation Park Conservancy President Kim Rose. “It is imperative that we continue to preserve the unique industrial look of the park and continue to enhance its artistic presence. Our long-term strategic plan includes additional improvements to allow year-round use. We encourage the community to enjoy the Park and welcome those from other communities who are enjoying what our community has to offer.”
The mission of Foundation Park Conservancy is to be the main source of economic support for the preservation, programming and promotion of Ariel-Foundation Park in collaboration with the City of Mount Vernon. For more information about the Park or to sign up for the free e-newsletter, visit www.arielfoundationpark.org. For the latest information, follow the Park on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.