German American Bank backs Kimmell Park improvements

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VINCENNES, Ind. - German American Bank has joined the growing number of community organizations backing Kimmell Park improvements in Vincennes.

Community and Vincennes University officials gathered along the riverfront of Kimmell Park on May 3 as German American Bank officials presented a $10,000 check for major improvements to the 1930’s era riverfront park.

“German American Bank’s commitment to this project and our community is truly remarkable. We are excited about the visible progress that is being made along the riverfront and encouraged by the increased traffic and visitors,” said Phil Rath, vice president of Financial Services and Government Relations for VU. “This is going to be a wonderful place for our community - a place we can all be proud of.”

German American Bank joins other backers of the park improvement project that include VU, the City of Vincennes, Knox County Community Foundation, Vincennes/Knox County Visitors and Tourism Bureau, and Old National Bank.

The goal of the park’s backers is to invest an estimated $2.5 million into Kimmell Park to create an attractive and safe venue for community events as well as a year-round enjoyment of the riverfront for residents and visitors.

Visitors to the park can now enjoy a noticeably enhanced view of the riverfront. Over the past months, VU’s revitalization efforts have included cleaning up the banks of the Wabash and removing the old trees that previously obstructed the view. Visitors can now appreciate the historic sites as far right as the Red Skelton Bridge and as far left as the George Rogers Clark Memorial.

“The partnership of the Vincennes business community, the City of Vincennes, and Vincennes University to revitalize Kimmel Park is a perfect example of effective collaboration to improve the spaces within Vincennes,” states Joel Smith, regional president with German American. “Quality of life and quality of space are crucial areas of focus for economic development to attract students, residents, and young talent to our area. The German American team is proud to make a significant donation to this project and looks forward to enjoying Kimmel Park for many years to come.”

Known as “game-changers” for communities throughout the nation, riverfronts enhance a sense of place and pride, attracting residents and visitors for outdoor recreation, relaxation, and community events. The Kimmell Park Revitalization Project also complements other nearby improvement initiatives, such as the development of the Heritage Trail along the riverfront, as well as Main Street and Second Street revitalizations.

Kimmell Park will help link several major riverfront neighbors: VU, the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, the home of President William Henry Harrison, and the downtown area, which is the site of Indiana’s first Main Street.

In the 1930s Kimmell Park was funded in part for President Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration jobs program. Following the construction of an attractive shelter house and other park facilities, the city park attracted families from southwest Indiana and became a tourist attraction.

But with tight city budgets through the years and additional parks and an aquatic center competing for limited funds, Kimmell Park visits declined and so did its attractiveness for recreation. With the goal of revitalizing the park and capitalizing on the riverfront, the City of Vincennes and VU worked cooperatively, agreeing to transfer ownership of the 8.5-acre Kimmell Park and adjacent 54-acre woodlands to adjacent VU, with covenants to ensure that the property remains a public park. VU pledged to lead efforts to make major improvements and enhance security using its VU Police Department.

VU is currently working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and agencies with jurisdiction over the levee to initiate a number of improvements designed to make the park more inviting. Soon the park’s entrance will be greatly expanded, boat access improved, views of the river enhanced, and new trees planted, in addition to new lighting installed to enhance security and hours of usage. VU is also committed to ensure public access and protect the park’s existing historical open shelter house and open fire pits that were constructed in the 1930s.

German American was founded in 1910 and offers banking, insurance, investment, and trust services throughout southern Indiana in 37 banking offices in 13 southern Indiana counties, including Knox, Daviess, Pike, Gibson, Martin, Dubois, Perry, Spencer, Monroe, Lawrence, Vanderburgh, Warrick, and Bartholomew. The company employees over 500 financial professionals with expertise in serving individuals and businesses with financial products and services.

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College
VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper and additional sites such as Indianapolis and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics. 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

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