Jamestown, Indiana

Nature Park

The History of the Park

This all began as a dream of one man and his wife several years ago.

Virgil and Mary Kathryn Benge, long-time residents of Jamestown, had a vision for their property on the east edge of Jamestown. This property had been in the family for several generations. Virgil and Mary Kathryn wanted to see the land someday become a nature park for everyone to enjoy. In March of 1990, Mr. Benge had over 8,000 trees in different varieties planted on his 15.9 acres by Berg Warner Nurseries of Lizton. These seedlings grew into a beautiful forest. Unfortunately Mary Kathryn became ill and passed away in early 1997.

On October 17, 1997, Mr. Benge donated the land to the Town of Jamestown to be made into a nature park in memory of his wife, Mary Kathryn. If the Town of Jamestown would not accept this park or was not willing to maintain it, the property would then revert to the Boone County Community Foundation.

The Jamestown Town Council, consisting of the members Richard Caldwell, Glenda Hieston, and Richard Beam, decided this was a project they would like to do. At the authority of the Jamestown Town Council, Linda Isenhower, Clerk Treasurer took control of the project. Cole Associates was hired to help prepare a master plan for the park.

A public planning meeting was held in December 1997 to discuss some ideas and come up with the plan for Pleasant Acres Nature Park. It was decided to apply to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources "Hometown Indiana Grant Program." This grant would be a matching grant for the value of the land that had been appraised at $170,300. A five-year park plan was submitted and approved by the Department of Natural Resources. Cole and Associates drew up the plans for the trails to be included in the grant application. This application was submitted on April 28, 1998. The grant was approved and awarded in September of 1998.

The Schneider Corporation was contracted to begin drawing up construction and bid documents for the trails in December of 1998.

These documents were completed and the project was sent out for bids in May 1999. Smock Fansler Corporation was awarded the bid to construct the trails and parking lot on June 16, 1999. On July 12, 1999 construction on the Nature Park began. The first phase of the project, consisting of trails, bridges and a parking lot was completed on September 14, 1999.

The Park Today

The dream has now become a reality. This first phase of the project is now complete.

Phase two consisted of a shelter house, restroom facilities, an overlook, more plantings of native flowers and trees, signs for marking the trails and foliage, and possibly a gazebo.

In the Summer of 2000, the shelter house with restroom facilities was constructed with the help of the Boone County Tourism Council. Signs and a brochure should be finished by the Fall of 2000.

Year 2002 will see the overlook and gazebo project a reality thanks in part to a grant from the White Lick Community Foundation of Hendricks County.

This project would not have been possible if not for the many contributions and the continued support of our current employees of the Town of Jamestown. They are:

  • Katie Conyer, Clerk-Treasurer
  • Bobby Taylor, Utility Superintendent
  • Matt Huckstep, Wastewater Superintendent
  • Mike Rusk, Town Marshal
  • Shane Russell, Utility Assistant
  • Aaron Clapp, Deputy Marshal
  • Linda Bass, Deputy Clerk
  • Craig Miser, Building Inspector
  • Bill Leeke, Town Court Judge

Special Recognition To:

  • Keith and Susan Houk for their many hours of planting and money spent on flowers and trees for the park.
  • Nola Albrecht and David Roth of Schneider Corporation and Tom Fansler and Bruce Fish and crew from Smock Fansler for being such a joy to work with and their personal belief in this project.
  • Britt Long of the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Outdoor Recreation for his constant support in this project.
  • To the Citizens of Jamestown and surrounding areas for their support during the planning stage and application support letters.

Any donations would be welcomed to help with the continued maintenance of the park and for work on the continued success and additions to the park. Plans for an additional parking area may be in the near future.

Thank you for your support.

Jamestown Town Council                                                                                                Park Advisory Board
Bryce Huckstep                                                                                                                  Nancy Rice    Mike Muller
Vickie Foster                                                                                                                       Peter Berg      John Hamilton
Richard Beam                                                                                                                     Vacant