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Parks Board: Foundation is a lifesaver - literally

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

One might say the Henry County Community Foundation is a lifesaver.

That could be true in many respects due to the foundation’s wide-ranging impact, but Monday, it was the New Castle Parks Board expressing appreciation for foundation grant officials for awarding $4,000 from the “Choose Henry County Fund” to help train badly-needed lifeguards at Baker Pool.

The goal, parks board president Patty Broyles said, is to provide training for up to 40 lifeguards so plenty would be available to keep the pool open longer next season. This year, it had to close before the busy Labor Day weekend because young lifeguards had gone back to school.

“This was a new concept for using these grant funds,” Broyles said. “Foundation officials helped us think outside the box. I think it’s very exciting.”

New Castle Parks Manager Mike Bergum said lifeguard classes will be offered free of charge, thanks to the foundation grant. He reported 28 people already signed up for classes scheduled Sunday, Nov. 18 and Sundays Dec. 2, 9 and 16. All classes will be held at the Henry County YMCA.

Anyone interested in signing up for a lifeguard class may contact Bergum via phone or text at 765-465-7278.

In other matters at Monday’s parks board meeting, Bergum said a new, four-bay swing set is expected to arrive next week for installation at Osborne Park. The equipment was purchased using state riverboat gambling proceeds.

Also, a series of ceremonies dedicating 14 brand-new benches was scheduled to begin Tuesday evening. The benches were made possible through a project involving recycled plastic bottle caps. Parks board members expressed a “huge” thanks to Brenda Grider for her dedication to the project.