Improvements coming to Chelsea Park
Saluda trustee achieves her goal
Saturday, June 08, 2013 5:00 AM
Ruby Wehner stood on the blacktop of Chelsea Park's new basketball court on Wednesday while her son-in-law Yancy York and her husband, Gerald, installed new adjustable goals.
Yancy York, above, installs padding at the corner of the backboard of a new basketball goal at Chelsea Park. He was assisted by Gerald Wehner. Saluda Township trustee Ruby Wehner has had plans for several years to upgrade the park’s facilities. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org)
The goals marked the end of a two-year effort to revitalize the 5-acre park for visitors and local residents.
Wehner, the Saluda Township trustee, said it was a project she had on her list for quite some time.
"I was really hoping to have the courts and build up the park," said Wehner, who is serving her second term as trustee. Her first term was almost 50 years ago when she was in her early 20s.
The park is home to the Chelsea Julibee, which is longest running community reunion in Indiana, having started shortly after the Civil War. The site has a number of picnic tables, restrooms, running water and electric hook-ups.
While the jubilee started several generations ago, Wehner said the park has been at its current location for about 40 years.
She had crews lay blacktop on the courts last year and installed the goals and painted the court this spring with money from the trustee account. In the future, she hopes to hold 3-on-3 basketball tournaments or even wrestling matches at the park.
The park is gated when visitors or renters are not at the site. It can be rented for $50 a day by calling Wehner at (812) 866-1400.
This year's Chelsea Julibee is set for the first Friday and Saturday in September.
Wehner's family connection to the area goes farther back than the park. Or the Chelsea Julibee, for that matter. Her Scottish ancestors settled in Jefferson County - specifically Saluda Township - in 1816. She still has the original deed that was signed by President James Madison.
It's that kind of history that makes her so eager to contribute as much as she can to the community.
"I feel like I belong to this community. And I'm just trying to do what I can to make it better for everybody," she said.
On Wednesday, she watched as her great-grandson shot the first basket on the park's new goals. She hopes the memory sticks with him, just as she hopes other residents come to the park to create their own memories.
"I would like to see people really utilize it," she said.