New leadership is coming to a longstanding Evansville recreation tradition.
In January, new Burdette Park Director Jacob Murphy was hired to head the 170-acre recreation center, which first opened to the public in 1936. The 26-year-old Bloomington, Indiana, native replaces longtime manager Steve Craig, who retired after almost two decades as manager.
“I’m excited to be here. I love parks. Burdette Park is beautiful and unique. It has more to offer in one contained space than most other parks like it,” says Murphy, who previously worked as communications and public relations coordinator at Louisville Metro Parks & Recreation in Louisville, Kentucky, after graduating from Bellarmine University. “My family has always been involved in public service and I take pride in continuing that tradition. And what I really like about serving the public through parks and recreation is it is easy to get behind and support parks and nature in general.”
Murphy says that Burdette Park is probably best known in the summer for its aquatic center which has some of the largest swimming pools in the Midwest. However, he reminds visitors the park itself is open year-round with free admission. Visitors also can enjoy activities such as fishing, basketball and volleyball, miniature golf, and BMX racing.
One of the many pieces that Burdette Park has to offer is the 3-mile paved trail stretching from the University of Southern Indiana to the park. The final segments of the trail were completed around August 2012.
“It’s pretty spectacular,” says Murphy. “It’s one of the nicest trails I have ever been on. It has gorgeous retaining walls and has a paved surface. It is open for anyone to use.”
Visitors to Burdette Park, located on Evansville’s hilly West Side, can rent a variety of small and large rustic day-shelter houses for events. Additionally, Burdette’s open-air pavilion also is available for rent for parties on a larger scale. The O’Day Discovery Lodge, which overlooks a landscaped lake and waterfall, can be reserved for weddings, company functions, or any large gathering.
For overnight guests, Burdette offers six chalets accommodating up to eight to 12 people each. Each unit has a full kitchen, breakfast bar, fireplace, and heating and air conditioning. Some units offer Jacuzzi tubs. Campground sites for tents or full hookup accessibility also are open year-round and include restroom and shower facilities.
“Having the overnight chalets and camping is very similar to what state parks offer, but state parks often charge entry fees,” says Murphy.
For more information about Burdette Park, call 812-435-5602 or visit evansville.in.gov.