Upgrades to the Winamac Town Park’s restrooms and toddler playground may get some financial support from this year’s round of Land and Water Conservation Fund grants. Last year, the town’s park board applied for $200,000 for its swimming pool rebuilding project. It wasn’t selected, but officials with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources say it would have a good chance this year, according to park board member Pat Bawcum. The problem is that the town has decided not to pursue the project for the time-being, due to concerns that money wouldn’t be available to operate the pool if it’s built.
Instead, the park board decided Thursday to use the grant opportunity to help with the restrooms and toddler playground – projects that would otherwise rely mainly on donations.
Board member Brad Zellers said Thursday that designs for the new restrooms have been finalized by the architect. “He’s got everything ready he’s going to put in,” Zellers said. “I think he will send it to the state to get a state release to build them. We can also bid this at the same time, contingent on [the state approval of the plans]. I think he’s going to have a bid packet put together for this, so we can get it bid.” The park board had planned to pay for the new restrooms with money donated to the Park Gift Fund, but board members hope that applying for grant funding would save some of the Gift Fund for future projects.
Similarly, the toddler playground project has already attracted donations from several town organizations, including the town’s Kiwanis and Eagles clubs, as well as the VFW post. A couple other groups may also contribute. The park board hopes those donations will total at least $10,000, but with a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant, that amount could be doubled.
The grant application is due June 1, which doesn’t give town officials much time to assemble all the necessary documents. The restroom construction will likely have to be bid out, and donations for the playground equipment will have to be finalized, before town officials even know how much money to ask for. At that point, the projects would have to be put on hold at least until the fall, when town learns whether or not it’s been awarded the grant.
In the end, board members agreed the chance to get the grant funding was worth the potential wait. They formally approved a motion to move forward with a grant application to help with the restroom and playground projects, as well as other associated work.