Park Agency Member Spotlight: Daviess Martin Joint Parks Department

Written by: Courtnie Pettigrew Posted on: January 7, 2019 Blog: News & Updates

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The Indiana Park and Recreation Association had the amazing opportunity to hear about the Daviess Martin Joint Parks Department from its director, Jameson Hibbs. Please read below to learn more about Daviess Martin Joint Parks Department!

How does your agency contribute to the community?
The Daviess Martin Joint County Parks Department directly serves two Indiana counties and indirectly serves a regional base of Indiana as a recreational destination. Numerous services, activities, and events are provided to our local communities. These offerings not only provide our two counties with recreational services, but they also increase the amount of tourism dollars spent in both Daviess and Martin Counties. This has a positive impact on the local economic vitality creating jobs and increasing the quality of life.

What special events is your park agency known for?
West Boggs Park has recently undergone a change in direction and is now providing ample events and activities. We have started a five part summer concert series with our Luau theme in mid July, being the most attractive. These concerts create an avenue for our department to solicit for sponsorship dollars and increase the value of our parks department in the community businesses. These concerts have been an excellent method to increase the occupancy rate in our campground. We provide fireworks for Independence Day which attracts a few thousand people to West Boggs Park. West Boggs Park hosts an annual Civil War Reenactment. This living history event provides participants the opportunity to witness the lifestyle of civil war soldiers and civilians during the 1860's. This event includes battle reenactments, historical figures portrayals, various demonstrations, and ends with a time period dance. There is also a nighttime cannon fire over West Boggs Lake. What has become our most popular and unique event is called Hillbilly Heyday. This event falls on the second Saturday in August which prior to the event was historically the lowest occupancy annually in our campground. This event is now our busiest non-holiday weekend of the season and our campground is at 100% occupancy. This Saturday event consists of a large 100'x 40' mud pit which hosts several activities. We begin with an obstacle course for different age groups, followed by watermelon wrestling, then golf cart races (stock and modified), and finish the pit with a mud volleyball tournament. There is also a small kids pit adjacent to the pit to keep the children entertained. This evening commences with a bluegrass band and cornhole tournament. West Boggs Park also hosts two Halloween weekends in the park. Both weekends are 100% occupancy in our campground and provide activities such as golf cart decoration contest/parade, trick or treating, wagon rides, and a campsite decoration contest.

What do you see for the future of your park agency? What are your goals?
The location of West Boggs Park in southern Indiana is prime for a Hoosier outdoor recreational destination. Due to the construction of travel corridors such as I-69 and our efforts to improve West Boggs Park, we anticipate a vast increase in facility usage. In 2014, the IN DNR completed a fishery renovation on West Boggs Lake, ultimately creating a mid-west hot spot for fishing. The lure of the outstanding fishing has increased our revenue allowing us to focus our efforts on improving our facility through infrastructure upgrades, additional events/activities, and new amenities. We have several objectives to obtain our 2024 goals of 50% of our customers are non-fisherman and increase our revenue by 100% to $2 million in revenue.

Why do you choose to be a member of the Indiana Park and Recreation Association? How long have you been a member?
I choose to be a member of IPRA to continue my education through networking, workshops, conference, and the various other opportunities provided. IPRA has assisted with my professional development now since 2008, so, for the past ten years, I have been delighted to receive what IPRA has to offer.

How has your experience with IPRA benefited your park agency? What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your membership?
IPRA offers members and agencies an opportunity to research and explore plausible ideas and concepts that will ultimately benefit your department. Such positive welfare is presented whether it is through educational workshops, leadership development, training, or the professional networked developed through participation. I'm sure I speak for most when I state the connections I have made through IPRA have been the most rewarding. I would not be in my position today without the assistance of IPRA members and the additional education/training I have received through IPRA benefits.

What would you like IPRA members to know about your park agency?
Although rural based, the Daviess Martin Joint County Parks Department and West Boggs Park serves a wide region of southern Hoosiers. We have an excellent team of dedicated professionals that strive to see the development of our facility and to maintain the direction set by leadership. It has been nearly twenty years since West Boggs Park was the "talk of the town" so to speak, and we are now finally in the forefront of our local communities. We only anticipate a continual gain in popularity and usage while maintaining the rural Indiana appeal. Thanks to our staff, communities, local governments, facility users, and IPRA for helping put West Boggs Park back on the map!

Want to learn more about Daviess Martin Joint Parks Department? Click here to visit their website.

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