Winamac Park Restroom, Toddler Playground Upgrades Will Have to Wait for Lengthy Grant Process

Entrance to the Winamac Town Park

It may be a while before the Winamac Town Park gets its new restrooms and playground equipment. The park board’s application for a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant has been turned in to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. But Park Board President Courtney Poor said Thursday that state approval is only half of the process. “After the State of Indiana would approve this, then it has to go to the federal government and have their blessing, also,” he explained. “So that’s going to delay this particular process.”

Poor pointed out that work won’t be able to start until the town knows whether or not it’s been awarded the grant, “So we’re going to be delayed awhile on this, which is not good news for anyone. I understand that. But by the same token, if we want to play the game, we’ve got to play it by the rules.”

Park Board Secretary Kim Burke added that since she turned in the grant application a few days early, DNR officials were able to suggest a few additions to improve its chances of getting approved. “He suggested we add some sort of small recreational facility,” Burke explained. “So I took it upon myself. I was on the fly. I had two days to get it done. I added permanent cornhole. Concrete cornhole boards, for the surfacing you can use a little bit of crushed stone and limestone so that it’s ADA-compliant. I figured it at $6,000. It’s the cheapest thing I could come up with really quick.” Part of the reason why Burke chose cornhole was that no similar facilities exist in the local area, making the grant application even more attractive.

Having components that are environmentally-friendly can also help improve the town’s chances. Burke said she added a park bench made of recycled material and also included the motion-activated lights and automatic sinks planned for the new restrooms.

Due to the fact that restroom construction is still several months away and because the lowest bidder ended up pulling his bid, the park board voted Thursday to reject all three of the bids it received for restroom construction. However, the bids did help Burke figure out how much money to ask for. The park board plans to rebid the project, once it learns the outcome of the grant application.