WARSAW — Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer started off the Warsaw Parks & Recreation Board meeting Tuesday, April 17, by sharing results of a 2017 campground report.
Plummer received a letter from Jill Boggs at the Kosciusko County Convention & Visitors Bureau regarding a project that involved measuring the economic impact of campgrounds.
“Our involvement, of course, is the Pike Lake Campground facility,” Plummer said. “As I began collecting data – we’re definitely bringing tourism to Kosciusko County and the city of Warsaw.”
“In 2017 there were 7,728 nights available to rent,” said Plummer, “And we rented 6,971 of those.”
Research indicated that 70 percent of those campers were from outside Kosciusko County. According to Plummer, 33 Indiana counties were represented. Plummer stated that 33 states in the U.S. were represented as well as Canada.
“It just amazed me,” said Plummer. “We went back and checked our records and checked addresses to see where we are drawing people from.”
The campground officially opened for the season on Sunday, April 15.
“We have 41 seasonals in there already,” Plummer said. “We’re almost at capacity and we just opened Sunday.”
“Our campground manager, Dave (Holler), does a great job out there – and Shaun (Gardner) and the guys have made a lot of improvements,” Plummer stated. “It’s a happening place and it seems to be going in the right direction.”
“With what you’re doing at the campground, I think I should go down there and make sure it’s legal because you’re certainly drawing a great crowd,” joked Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer.
Next on the agenda was discussion regarding a Central Park master plan.
“As the Buffalo Street project evolves, there are many effects to Central Park that we need to address,” Plummer informed board members. “We felt, as a department, that Central Park needed a master plan to give us direction for years to come.”
“We are looking at where our park offices are going to be located, how to revitalize the Central Park shoreline, possible acquisition of a gas station on Detroit Street, where our maintenance facility best fits in the plan and how a remodeled Center Lake pavilion and a multi-use, covered pavilion could enhance our recreation department,” said Plummer.
He advised that funding has been secured to allow design collaborative architects and engineers from Fort Wayne to prepare a master plan process.
“The first phase of this project would include listening, learning, public question and answer sessions, social media polling – we want to get the public involved,” Plummer explained. “I think that’s essential to determine what happens in that area.”
“With the Buffalo Street project going on, we feel it’s necessary to have a master plan and not try to just piece things here and put something there and see if it works,” said Plummer. “We want to do it right. We want to have a master plan for the whole site, get the community involved and see where we go from there.”
Mayor Thallemer agreed, “I just feel that it’s critical that we go through a public process to determine what’s of value in our community for that area. I don’t have to tell you what that park means to our community and our residents. We want to make sure we do it right.”
“We have a real good opportunity to improve and do things right, but we want to make sure it’s meeting the needs of the community,” said Thallemer.
Plummer asked for approval from the board to engage design collaborative to work on the master plan.This was approved.
Maintenance Director Shaun Gardner advised that they have been placing picnic tables in area parks and are assembling new picnic tables for Central Park. Tennis nets have been set up as well.
“We were putting in piers at the campground when it was 30 degrees and snowing,” Gardner reported, eliciting laughter from board members.
“It doesn’t seem to matter what the weather is,” said Plummer. “Shaun and the guys are always out in there working every day and getting things accomplished, and I’m thankful for that.”
- In the event that we ever experience summer weather, the Warsaw Parks Department still has openings for lifeguards, summer seasonal park laborers and summer seasonal recreational park leader. Job descriptions can be found on the site.
- The 2018 Parks & Recreation guides will be sorted and ready for distribution later this week.
- The next regular meeting will be held at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 15.