Winamac-area residents had the chance Wednesday to offer input on the town’s park and recreation facilities. As part of the process of putting together a five-year park and recreation plan, members of the public got to share what they like about the parks, as well as potential areas for improvement.
Katie Bierrum, who’s putting the plan together for the town, encouraged those in attendance to think big. “We’re planning for the future right now,” she said. “So we know we might not have this money and we might not have it in five years. But if we have a plan, if the money comes down the pipeline, if there’s a grant available, we can jump on it because we know what we’re going to do and we have a plan for it. So that’s really what we’re trying to do right now is just be ready for any possible funding we might get, so the sky’s the limit, guys. Tell me what you would like to see.”
One positive that was noted was the Winamac Town Park as a setting for events like Northern Indiana Power from the Past. The trees in the park, the availability of utilities, and cooperation from town employees were high points. It was also noted that the size of the park makes it difficult to host larger-scale events, but that it’s a good trade-off for the small-town atmosphere. The Town Park restrooms were thought to be in need of improvement, though.
Meanwhile, the Winamac Parkway and the larger Panhandle Pathway were also mentioned as assets that attract visitors to the town. Some of those in attendance suggested increased signage to help direct cyclists passing through town to local restaurants, as well as the Town Park. Adding a formal Town Park entrance on Main Street was brought up, as was extending the park’s walking trail to the Pulaski County Public Library. Upgrades to the Town Park playground facilities were also discussed.
As the town moves closer to rebuilding its swimming pool, resident MacKenzie Ledley encouraged the park board to consider offering Winamac residents a discount on admission, since their tax dollars will help pay for its maintenance.
In addition to grants and tax revenues, those in attendance discussed ways to encourage and accept donations for park facilities. Park Board President Courtney Poor says this will be one of the duties of the board’s newly-formed advisory council.
Poor thanked those in attendance for their comments, noting the importance of public input as the five-year plan takes shape. “A dream without a plan is a wish,” he said. “This is the plan. This is what we go by. We’re depending on you guys.”
Residents who missed Wednesday’s meeting will still have a chance to offer input. The town’s planning a survey, which will be available online and in local newspapers.