The Parks System

The Rensselaer City Parks Department is composed of the following parks:

  • Brookside
  • Staddon/Monnett
  • Iroquois
  • Columbia
  • Hal Gray
  • Bicentennial
  • Potawatome
  • Milroy
  • Flat Iron

Highlights of the Current Rensselaer Park System include:

  1. 3 lighted baseball/softball diamonds
  2. Swimming Pool
  3. Lighted tennis courts
  4. Four sheltered picnic areas with water and electric
  5. Three playground structures
  6. Summer youth baseball and girls’ softball programs
  7. Adult men's and women's softball programs
  8. Summer swim classes
  9. 2 canoe landings
  10. One boat launch
  11. Six horseshoe pits behind Iroquois shop
  12. 1/4-mile track located at Brookside Park
  13. Football field
  14. Two Basketball Courts
  15. Walking trails

Programming: The Parks Department provides youth and adult programs, while also hosting non-park groups.  Park leagues compete in T-ball, baseball and softball.  While the basketball courts are heavily used, there is no organized summer league, only spontaneous “pick-up” games.  Soccer is a non-park program formerly headed by St. Joseph College personnel.  This group needs to rely on the Parks Department because with St. Joseph’s College closed, their facilities are not available.  The local Pop Warner Football League also utilizes the parks.

Exercise, playing team sports and keeping youth engaged in supervised summer programming are healthy practices that help reduce childhood obesity and develop their inter-personal skills.  In 2017, the Park Board hired a program director to oversee park activities and coordinate new ones such as Art in the Park, youth camps and sports leagues.  Providing facilities, especially walking trails, for seniors and younger adults, also reduces adult obesity and allows seniors to remain active into their later years.  Improving our parks is an investment into ourselves because we can be healthier and happier, while spending less to treat obesity and related illnesses.

Registration:  The following is the origin of youth sport registrations over the past 7 years comparing children from Rensselaer’s city limits to children who live in Jasper County:

2012 -  51% City to 49% Jasper County

2013 – 52% City to 48% Jasper County

2014 – 58% City to 42% Jasper County

2015 – 59% City to 41% Jasper County

2016 – 61% City to 39% Jasper County

2017 – 59% City to 41% Jasper County

Governance:  The Park Department is administered by the Park Board and funded by the Parks Corporation Board, a 501c3 nonprofit organization and the City of Rensselaer.  The Parks Board oversees the day-to-day operations and the Corporate Board is the repository of registration fees of park participants and community gifts.

The City of Rensselaer organized the Park Board in 1935 and the Rensselaer Community Recreational Development Corporation (Parks Board). In June of 1971, the Corporation entered into an agreement with the City of Rensselaer to lease the areas utilized as parks for the consideration of one dollar.

The Parks Corporation Board was re-formed in 1970 as a 501c3 organization who can accept tax-deductible gifts and whose goal is to collect fees, contributions, memorials, etc. to retain such funds until accumulation of monies are adequate for further planning and development.

Annual Operating Budget: 

  • The 2013 Park budget was $289,545.
  • The 2014 Park budget was $294,607.
  • The 2015 City Park budget was $309,001.
  • The 2016 City Park budget was $302,679.
  • The 2017 City Park budget is $323,130.

Next Steps...

Let hear to get involved in the Parks for People Campaign!