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Clarksville and River Heritage Conservancy nearing agreement to help further development of Origin Park

A view of Croghan Launch along Silver Creek, with trees lining the water.
Aprile Rickert
Croghan Launch opened earlier this year in Origin Park, a roughly 400-acre nature park along the Ohio River in Southern Indiana. Development plans for the park are ongoing.

The Clarksville Town Council approved a memorandum of understanding with the nonprofit group developing Origin Park Tuesday night, after some discussion and changes to language in the five-page document.

The agreement, in part, outlines the use of around 100 acres of town-owned land for Origin Park, in line with the existing park master plan. This accounts for around a quarter of the park’s overall planned footprint, which is mostly in Clarksville.

It also stipulates services the town will provide, like sewer and emergency services and maintenance to main roads. One of the changes the council approved this week is to make the town’s representative on the River Heritage board a voting member.

The conservancy is reviewing the changes.

The large nature park celebrates the Ohio River, including the life and history it has supported.

Clarksville Town Manager Kevin Baity told LPM News before the vote he sees the park as a quality of life improvement for residents and visitors alike, as well as an economic driver for the region.

“People are looking for more quality-of-life amenities such as parks, playgrounds, availability of retail and shopping, schools,” he said. “With the increased availability in this park, it could draw people to move and relocate to our area, but it can also cause people to come and recreate here on the weekends … staying in the hotels as well as eating in restaurants [and] shopping.”

Baity said the agreement will be amended as the park progresses.

River Heritage spokesperson Vern Eswine said the conservancy looks forward to finalizing the agreement with the town.

Some attractions are already in play, like paddling access and a wooded hiking area just off the Ohio River Greenway in Clarksville.

Upcoming plans include an events center in Phase 1 of the project, which will help bring in revenue for further park development and maintenance. The conservancy is also planning for an eventual whitewater recreational area.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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