The City of Monticello Parks & Recreation Department currently maintains seven parks within the city limits.  These include the Monticello City Park, Bluewater Beach Park, Voigt Park/City Pool, Tioga Park, Jordan Park, and Tornado Memorial.  Development of the newly acquired Altherr Nature Park as well as our water front Tioga Park is in the planning stages.  In total, today the city park’s system provides approximately 53.39 acres for the community’s recreational needs.

A survey completed by Superintendent Billue in 2000 indicated that on average cities and towns the size of Monticello, within the State of Indiana, provide approximately 66.24 acres of park space for their communities.  In the more recently completed 2008 parks master plan, it was advised that a total of 76 acres would be needed to accommodate the communities’ recreational needs. Currently the City of Monticello’s Parks & Recreation Department maintains 53.39 acres for the community.

Monticello City Park History (1915)

The first parcel of land acquired for parks development was the property currently known as the Monticello City Park. Land obtained for development of the park was purchased for the sum of ($5,000) from David Lilly and recorded in the White County Recorder’s Office on the 16th day of October 1915. The land purchased at that time was larger than the area currently maintained today and included approximately 25.5 acres. When purchased, the City Park originally included the Dodge Camp area and the existing location of the National Guard Armory located at the south end of Bluff Street on Armory Road.

Nine years after these properties had been purchased, a majority of the Tioga property and a small portion of the City Park property at Dodge Camp were sold. This land was conveyed to Indiana H. - E. Power Company for establishment of the Norway and Oakdale Hydroelectric dams and the creation of Lakes Shafer and Freeman. Purchase of property was recorded in the White County Recorder’s office on the 17th day of September 1925. The power company purchased a total of 4.71 acres of which about 3.18 acres & 1.53 acres were respectively sold from the Tioga and City Park properties. The power company purchased the land for the sum of ($1,000). Today, the majority of this area is under water. Of the Tioga property originally acquired by the city in 1916, presently .64 acres remains of which .23 acres was abandoned railroad right-of-way.

In 1949 the National Guard Armory found its place in Monticello. The City sold 4.1 acres of the City Park property to the State of Indiana for establishment of the Armory. Conveyance of the property from the City of Monticello to the State was recorded in the office of the White County Recorder on the 20th day of April 1949. The City sold this property to the State for “($1.00) and further considerations”. With this transaction, the City Park reached its current size of 19.146 acres.

Tioga Park History (1916)

Tioga Park, currently in the planning stages, was the second parcel of land obtained for parks development. This parcel was purchased in 1916 from the Tippecanoe Hydraulic Co. for ($660) and at that time contained approximately 3.82 acres. The land was conveyed to the City on the 10th day of March 1916. Nine years after these properties had been purchased; a majority of the Tioga property and a small portion of the City Park property at Dodge Camp were sold. This land was conveyed to Indiana H. –E. Power Company for establishment of the Norway and Oakdale Hydroelectric dams and the creation of Lakes Shafer and Freeman. The purchase of property was recorded in the White County Recorder’s office on the 17th day of September 1925 a total of 4.71 acres of which about 3.18 acres &1.53 acres were respectively sold from the Tioga and City Park properties. The power company purchased the land for the sum of $1,000. Today, the majority of this area is under water.

Of the Tioga property’s originally acquired by the city in 1916, presently .64 acres remains of which .23 acres was abandoned railroad right-of-way.

Bluewater Beach Park History (1934)

Land for the area currently known as Bluewater Beach Park was obtained in 1934. The first two parcels received for this park came from quit claim deeds. On February 14th, Dennis P. & Mary E. Teeter – husband & wife - deeded .819 acres of land to the city, inconsideration for improvements to the roads in the existing area. These included Gilmore Street – currently known as South Beach Drive, North Street – currently known as Fisher Street, and that portion of Tippecanoe Boulevard – now known as Bluewater Beach Drive – between Fisher and South Beach Drive. This area contains the south half of Bluewater’s public access site and the grass lot located between Bluewater Drive & Division Street.

Thomas A. O’Shaughnessy deeded - “Municipal Beach”- to the City on April 30th. This area contains approximately .74 acres and is located just north of the parcel deeded to the City by the Teeters. This piece of the park is rectangular and includes the north half of the access site at the Bluewater boat ramp and the grass lot on the west side of Bluewater Beach Drive.

Later that year William W. Roth and his wife Zelma sold the city the remaining parcels of land that currently makes up this park. These parcels included lots 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of Beach subdivision and are located on the east side of Bluewater Beach Drive. This area covers approximately 1.43 acres and was purchased by the City for ($1098.15). Conveyance of this part of the park occurred on August 13th, 1935. Including the .64a cre city right – of – way on the north end of the park, today Bluewater Beach Park covers an area of approximately 3.63 acres.

Monticello City Pool (1983) and Voigt Park (1988) History

Development of Voigt Park began with the purchase of the Monticello City Pool property from Community Recreation Incorporated in 1983. Due to financial difficulties, Community Recreation was no longer able to sustain operations of the pool and opted to sell the property to the city. The city took out a Farmers Home Loan of ($90,000.00) to purchase the pool and make needed repairs. The City Pool property covers 4.10 acres. Conveyance of the property from Community Recreation to the City of Monticello was recorded in the office of the White County Recorder on February 24, 1984.

In 1988 three additional parcels of land were added to the park. With the communities desire to provide a softball complex for the youth of Monticello, Voigt Park continued to grow with land sold / “donated” to the city from Virginiabelle Voigt (3.94 acres), The Monticello –White County Industrial Foundation, INC (2.25 acres), and United Telephone Company of Indiana, INC (.532 acres). The properties were sold to the city for “($1.00), ($1.00), and ($10.00)” respectively. Conveyance of these properties was respectively recorded in the office of the White County Recorder on May 12th 1988, May 12th 1988, and on October 13th 1988. Today, Voigt Park covers a total area of 10.82 acres.

Jordan Skate Park History (2009)

Funding for Jordan Skate Park started clear back in 2003 with the Cans for Cash program that was started to generate funding for the future skate park. This aluminum can recycling program was initiated through a partnership between the City of Monticello’s Parks & Recreation Department and Ball Corporation. The community wide collection program was worth the time and effort because it put Monticello in first place for the City Recycling Challenge sponsored by Novelis Corp. The nationwide contest encourages cities to recycle as many aluminum cans as possible. In 2005, Monticello was awarded with a check in the amount of $5,000 for the Cities outstanding efforts in their recycling initiatives. The Cans for Cash program instigated a community wide partnership that allowed for the development of our current skate park.

In 2009, with Dave Jordans’ donation of property for the north end park, the community was even more involved and motivated to contribute to the creation of a skate park right here in Monticello. The initial planning and design detailing Jordan Skate Park were done by Mitch Billue and the Parks Board early in 2009. Also, on March 16th of that year, North Dakota students contributed to the development of the park through a program called Lead the Way. The students spent a day working at the park helping to clear debris and prepare the site for development. There were more than 40 students that contributed in helping with this project which was just one stop on their way to Washington D.C. helping communities along the way. After the North Dakota students had let a helping hand, our very own boy scouts helped with the removal of brush and tree stumps creating a clean slate for the development of the park. The much anticipated concrete pad for the skate park was poured on Nov. 14, 2009.

In 2010 the first stage of the Skate Park was completed. This consisted of the concrete pad for the skate park as well as a few ramps. Also, for the first stage of development, the trails and restrooms were completed. Stage two was composed of finishing the half-pipe ramp and the remaining skate park equipment. Continued development on the construction of the playground equipment, pavilions, drinking fountains, board walk and paving continued into 2011.

Tornado Memorial Park History (2010)

Tornado Memorial Park was acquired through the gracious donation of property from Well Fargo Bank and the Historical Society of Monticello. On April 3, 1974 the courthouse, along with residential buildings around Monticello, were severally damaged due to an F4 Tornado. Eight people perished from that tornado and their losses will always be remembered in the newly installed Tornado Memorial located a block from the courthouse. Certain pieces from the old courthouse were implemented into the Tornado Memorial such as the old drinking fountain in front of the courthouse.

Water Works Superintendent Rod Pool took this project on as it came to life in 2010. This park site is approximately .2 acres in size and is located in downtown Monticello at the intersection of Broadway St. and Bluff St. A concept plan was prepared by Purdue University graduating class of 2004 Landscape Architecture Program. (Prof. Kim Wilson, Students: Toby Busse, Janelle Johnson, Sarah Hicks, and Ken Price). Through community input and other considerations a design was selected. Many companies and people were involved in the creation of this Memorial.

Altherr Nature Park History (2011)

The creation of Altherr Nature Park stems for a generous donation that was given to the community by the late William L. Altherr. It was Bill's wish that his gift be used for the creation of a family oriented nature park for the community of Monticello. To that end, Bill Altherr donated $638,061.14 to the Monticello Parks & Recreation Department and charged the Parks Board with the creation of the park.

This park is composed of two parcels of land. The city acquired both parcels on October 17, 2011. The first parcel - containing 9.8085 acres - was purchased from John Freeman for $206,779.00, and the second parcel – containing 6.734 acres - was purchased from Dave Fisher for the sum of $ 95,393.90. Combined, the two parcels that make up Altherr Nature Park total 16.5425 acres.

Since the parks acquisition, there has been two volunteer cleanup days to remove debris from the park. The eagle scouts have also participated in three eagle projects - being a tremendous help with progress of Altherr Nature Park. In the beginning of 2012, the Parks Department plans to remove existing buildings and prep the prairie area for seeding of natural grasses. Altherr Nature Park’s development will continue with construction of a multi-moto trail through the park from South Street to Main Street.

With funding available for the Altherr Nature Park, progress on designing illustrations has been moving forward. Illustrations have been created to represent what the future Nature Park is going to look like. The current project at hand is the conventional design of the Altherr Park Nature Center. The Nature Center’s proposed design will include a variety of activities, such as interactive wildlife identification, bird watching and informative presentations. The Nature Center will be a place for classes, families, and individuals to go and observe nature in its true habitat. The design for the Nature Center is an open floor plan that will accommodate a large number of people. The exterior of the building will look like an old train station due to the history and location of the building along the old Monon Railroad. An array of windows will cover the west wall for a view of the habitats. Altherr Nature Park will be an impressive park with prairie, woodlands, walking paths, and a variety of wildlife activities. When completed Altherr Park will be another outstanding park provided to our community through Monticello’s Parks System.