History of the Board and Department
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the pasture of P.A. McNay located at the corner of Washington and Nichols was commonly known as "McNay Park". Early Labor Day celebrations were held at this park.
Oakland Park was the scene of many Labor Day events, baseball, etc. On March 6, 1922 the Board of Directors of the Oakland Park Association sold the park located on Oakley Street to the Town of Lowell for public use for the amount of $3375.
With the building of the Lowell Elementary School, the School Corporation needed more acreage and asked the Town to sell Oakland Park to them. On September 22, 1955 the Lowell Town Trustees passed an ordinance to sell Oakland Park to the trustees of Cedar Creek Township for public purpose in the amount of $12,000.
With the Town of Lowell again in need of a public park the existence of 9 acres of land with a pond and evergreen trees provided an ideal location. Thus, Evergreen Park was created. On November 22, 1955, the town trustees purchased this parcel with the $12,000 received from the sale of Oakland Park. Today, Evergreen Park is notably the focus of the Lowell Park system and is very active with family reunions, civic events and everyday activities involving all ages of people.
With a park and more people moving in, the need for a park and recreation board became apparent. On January 8, 1968 the Town Board formed the first Lowell Park and Recreation Board. In order for the Park Board to be eligible for state and federal funds it was necessary to re-organize the Board under the 1965 Park Law and on September 14, 1970 the new Park Board was formed with Wilbur Schwanke as President.
In November of 1968, Bill Langen, developer of Indian Heights subdivision donated 4 lots for a park. Today the park is known as Reservation Park.
At a special meeting held on February 22,1971 with the Town Board, Park Board and the Lowell Women’s Club discussion included the purchase and development of the Town Square into a Senior Citizens Park. Lot 15 was purchased from Andrew H. and Amanda Merton for $10,000; lots 16&17 were purchased from Mary Janet and O.D. Watkins for $50. This parcel is the current site of the war monument.
P.A. McNay originally owned Liberty Park property, but on September 2, 1970 Herbert Cunningham sold the property to the Town of Lowell for the water department to spot wells. The remaining land was proposed as Liberty Park. Federal Funding was approved in February of 1976, for a 50-50 matching grant of approximately $93,000. The park project was constructed in three phases with completion in 1978.
Lot #38 of the original Union addition to Lowell plotted in 1864 is known today as Library Park. The Town Board bought the property from the School Board on January 13,1975. The Library used to be located next to this park but today the Town Hall occupies this building.