Winamac Park Board Discusses Town Park Athletic Facilities

Entrance to the Winamac Town Park
Entrance to the Winamac Town Park

The Winamac Park Board is looking to improve some of the athletic equipment at the Town Park. Specifically, the town’s looking to replace the two sets of soccer goals with newer models.

The current goals are considered a bit of a safety hazard, due to their weight. After looking at the various replacement options, Park Manager Dave DeLorenzo recommended two sets of powder-coated aluminum goals. They’re lighter-weight and would have wheels attached to allow them to be moved away when not in use. DeLorenzo told the park board last week the two sets would cost just under $5,000, in total.

The problem is, town officials aren’t sure who actually owns the existing goals, and therefore who should pay for new ones. The Pulaski County Family YMCA may be considered the primary user, since they run the local youth soccer program. That left park board members wondering whether the town should cover the cost, or if there are better uses for the money.

Complicating matters is the fact that the Pulaski County Family YMCA is in a transition phase, according to Town Attorney Justin Schramm. “The Y’s in the process of disaffiliating from the corporate YMCA,” he said. “Whether or not they’re going to operate as an independent health-care facility – it’s their plan, but as of right now, there’s not a whole lot of direction because there’s still some questions outstanding on their status and where they’re at in the process.”

Schramm has been providing assistance to the local YMCA with the process. He says that if it goes according to plan, the facility will continue providing all existing programs, with the only noticeable change being the name.

After a brief discussion, park board members agreed that the soccer goals serve the entire community, not just the organization. DeLorenzo added that even if the Pulaski County YMCA is no longer able to run the soccer program, he believes the town should continue to offer at least some soccer facilities in the park. The park board decided to notify the YMCA of its intention to replace the goals sometime after the fall soccer season wraps up, with the hope that the organization may contribute to the cost of the new ones. By then, board members hope to have a better idea of the Pulaski County Family YMCA’s future direction.

During his report to the park board, DeLorenzo also announced plans to add a fifth volleyball court to the park next year. He noted that the league using the facilities is now up to 20 teams. DeLorenzo added that the installation cost should be minimal, since the town already owns most of the necessary equipment. The only expense he anticipates is the installation of LED lights.

In other business, the park board scheduled a budget work session for Monday, August 22 at 5:00 p.m. It’s significant, as it will be the first budget for the park board. The park and recreation budget remains under the town council’s control until the end of 2016.