September 18, 2019 / Vincennes University, community collaborate on
new Kimmell Park playground
University Community Playground Ribbon Cutting photos
University Community Playground Ribbon Cutting video
VINCENNES, Ind. – A collaboration of Vincennes University, Indiana
Housing and Community Development Authority, and community partners
will provide Knox County families with a stimulating and exciting area
to enjoy time outdoors and strengthen the bonds of their community.
Kimmell Park has undergone more than $3 million in improvements in
recent years and the newest addition is the Vincennes University
A ribbon cutting on Sept. 18 celebrated the opening of the play area
at the park, 2014 Oliphant Drive.
“VU is proud to be able to lead the effort to make Kimmell Park an
even more integral part of our community. The involvement of so many
other community partners in the addition of the playground area
demonstrates what we can do by working together to enhance our
community and the lives of all who live here,” VU President Chuck
The playground was funded in part through the Indiana Housing and
Community Development Authority’s CreatINg Places grant program.
CreatINg Places helps generate public involvement in creative
community improvements by matching individual donations with IHCDA
funds when the financial goal is reached.
“Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, a community asset is
coming back to life,” IHCDA Executive Director Jacob Sipe said. “We
are pleased that we are able to support this project and the continued
revitalization and momentum in Vincennes.”
Vincennes University exceeded the $50,000 fundraising goal needed to
receive the matching grant with the help of community partners who
stepped up to benefit the region’s families.
Contributions from Farbest Foods, Old National Bank, Burkhart
Insurance Agency, First Vincennes Savings Bank, Ford Sawmills Inc.,
Futaba Indiana of America Corporation, German American Bank, and the
Knox County Community Foundation helped make the playground possible.
The playground features multiple play structures with slides and
climbing pieces in addition to several swings, including expression
swings. The playground is located near a shelter house, restrooms, and parking.
“A special thanks to the VU Grounds Crew and Physical Plant Crew for
assembling and installing the playground equipment,” Johnson said.
In 2017, Kimmell Park was re-dedicated, and its new look unveiled.
Improvements included a new entrance, an overlook with scenic
stair-step seating leading to the riverbank, park benches, picnic
tables, walking trails, and newly planted trees.
“Looking back, it was a very smart decision by the City to turn over
Kimmell Park to Vincennes University,” Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum
said. “Not only is the transformation absolutely amazing, the new VU
Community Playground is a great addition that children from the entire
community can enjoy for many years to come.”
KIMMELL PARK HISTORY
The 1930s development of Kimmell Park was funded in part by President
Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration jobs program. After
the construction of a shelter house and other facilities, the city
park attracted families from southwest Indiana. It is on the National
Register of Historic Places.
With the goal of revitalizing the park and capitalizing on the
riverfront, the City of Vincennes, Vincennes Parks Board, and VU
worked cooperatively in 2015, with all parties agreeing to transfer
ownership of the 8.5-acre park and its 54-acre woodlands to the
University. VU pledged to lead efforts to make major improvements. A
grand opening and ribbon cutting were held Aug. 29, 2017 to celebrate
the completion of more than $3 million in park renovations.
Kimmell Park is located between Oliphant Drive and the Wabash River,
beginning at the intersection of St. Clair Street on the south and
ending at the University’s baseball complex on the north. The park
offers panoramic views of the river, and a riverfront walking and
bicycle path connects it to downtown and the George Rogers Clark
National Historical Park.
VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College
VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper, the
Aviation Technology Center and American Sign Language program in
Indianapolis, Early College Career and Technical Education Centers,
and additional sites such as the Gene Haas Training and Education
Center in Lebanon, the Logistics Training and Education Center in
Plainfield, and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing
and Logistics in Fort Branch. A leader in developing Early Colleges
statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.
In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and
certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in
technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs
in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.
VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 35 other states, and 17
countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with
residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only
college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become
President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S.
President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana
Territory. More information is available at www.vinu.edu.
Vincennes University Newsroom
MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports
812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell,
Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom