During Monday evening’s Plymouth Park Board meeting, Julian Rouch and Robert Listenberger presented members with the proposal to donate property at the southern end of Plum Street to the park department.
Listenberger told park board members Mr. Rouch approached him a few months ago with the idea of donating two parcels of property at the end of South Plum Street, adjacent to the river. Listenberger said his desire is to donate the two parcels in memory of his wife Betty Jean Rouch. He said Jud’s vision is to create a park setting and have a canoe/kayak launch at the river’s edge in the future.
Listenberger said the City of Plymouth owns most of the property in the area, purchasing several of the homes using FEMA funds and having them demolished.
Julian Rouch told the Plymouth Park Board he purchased the properties at tax sale over the years. He’s had the idea of donating the property for some time with the idea of creating a park and commemorating his wife’s 63 years of sacrifice as she followed him around while he was in the Navy Submarine Service.
Rouch said he’d like to see a canoe/kayak launch and a fishing wharf since the bank is so steep. He did say his only condition of donating the property is that eventually a sign will be placed that names the location of the Betty Jean Rouch Park or at least a sign shortly that says it will be the site of the Betty Jean Rouch Park.
Park Board members discussed the donation and said it would take some time to be able to create a recreational area at the end of South Plum Street.
Park Board President Dave Morrow said he walked the site on Monday afternoon before the board meeting.
Board member Liz Richie was excited about the opportunity and would love to see people working together to make the park, launch, and wharf a reality.
City Attorney Sean Surrisi said last year the City of Plymouth and the Utility Department purchased a home and property just north of these lots. He said there is only one home left in the floodplain area.
Surrisi said the deed has been prepared in anticipation of the Plymouth Park Board’s approval.
Members spoke about a launch and Surrisi said in 2019 the kayak launch in River Park Square was about $60,000. He estimated the cost has increased and would probably be closer to $100,000 now.
Listenberger said he envisioned a simpler launch like the one by the sledding hill in Centennial Park.
While there was no reason for the Park Board to say no to the donation, Superintendent Hite said once the park acquires the property, they will study the area and create a plan on how to develop it into a recreation area.
The Park Board unanimously approved the donation of about 2 acres at the end of South Plum Street from Julian Rouch.