Vincennes University, community collaborate on new Kimmell Park playground

Vincennes University, community collaborate on new Kimmell Park playground

Vincennes University Logo

September 18, 2019

September 18, 2019 / Vincennes University, community collaborate on new Kimmell Park playground

Vincennes University Community Playground Ribbon Cutting photos

Vincennes University Community Playground Ribbon Cutting video

VINCENNES, Ind. – A collaboration of Vincennes University, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, and community partners will provide Knox County families with a stimulating and exciting area to enjoy time outdoors and strengthen the bonds of their community.

Kimmell Park has undergone more than $3 million in improvements in recent years and the newest addition is the Vincennes University Community Playground.

A ribbon cutting on Sept. 18 celebrated the opening of the play area at the park, 2014 Oliphant Drive.

“VU is proud to be able to lead the effort to make Kimmell Park an even more integral part of our community. The involvement of so many other community partners in the addition of the playground area demonstrates what we can do by working together to enhance our community and the lives of all who live here,” VU President Chuck Johnson said.

The playground was funded in part through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s CreatINg Places grant program. CreatINg Places helps generate public involvement in creative community improvements by matching individual donations with IHCDA funds when the financial goal is reached.

“Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, a community asset is coming back to life,” IHCDA Executive Director Jacob Sipe said. “We are pleased that we are able to support this project and the continued revitalization and momentum in Vincennes.”

Vincennes University exceeded the $50,000 fundraising goal needed to receive the matching grant with the help of community partners who stepped up to benefit the region’s families.

Contributions from Farbest Foods, Old National Bank, Burkhart Insurance Agency, First Vincennes Savings Bank, Ford Sawmills Inc., Futaba Indiana of America Corporation, German American Bank, and the Knox County Community Foundation helped make the playground possible.

The playground features multiple play structures with slides and climbing pieces in addition to several swings, including expression swings. The playground is located near a shelter house, restrooms, and parking.

“A special thanks to the VU Grounds Crew and Physical Plant Crew for assembling and installing the playground equipment,” Johnson said.

In 2017, Kimmell Park was re-dedicated, and its new look unveiled. Improvements included a new entrance, an overlook with scenic stair-step seating leading to the riverbank, park benches, picnic tables, walking trails, and newly planted trees.

“Looking back, it was a very smart decision by the City to turn over Kimmell Park to Vincennes University,” Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum said. “Not only is the transformation absolutely amazing, the new VU Community Playground is a great addition that children from the entire community can enjoy for many years to come.”


The 1930s development of Kimmell Park was funded in part by President Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration jobs program. After the construction of a shelter house and other facilities, the city park attracted families from southwest Indiana. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

With the goal of revitalizing the park and capitalizing on the riverfront, the City of Vincennes, Vincennes Parks Board, and VU worked cooperatively in 2015, with all parties agreeing to transfer ownership of the 8.5-acre park and its 54-acre woodlands to the University. VU pledged to lead efforts to make major improvements. A grand opening and ribbon cutting were held Aug. 29, 2017 to celebrate the completion of more than $3 million in park renovations.


Kimmell Park is located between Oliphant Drive and the Wabash River, beginning at the intersection of St. Clair Street on the south and ending at the University’s baseball complex on the north. The park offers panoramic views of the river, and a riverfront walking and bicycle path connects it to downtown and the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park.

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College

VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper, the Aviation Technology Center and American Sign Language program in Indianapolis, Early College Career and Technical Education Centers, and additional sites such as the Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon, the Logistics Training and Education Center in Plainfield, and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics in Fort Branch. A leader in developing Early Colleges statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.

In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.

VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 35 other states, and 17 countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory. More information is available at


Vincennes University Newsroom

MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports Information Director
   812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell,,
VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations,