WARSAW — K21 Heath Foundation President and CEO Rich Haddad attended the Warsaw Parks and Recreation board meeting Tuesday, Oct. 15, to discuss potential plans for an ice rink.
In September, K21 Health Foundation’s announced plans to pledge $1 million toward the construction of an ice skating facility.
“There are three areas I want to makes sure are crystal clear,” Haddad told board members.
Haddad said the $1 million pledge is for construction of a permanent ice rink facility for the community.
“Now, we recognize that the potential of the total cost of a permanent facility might exceed $1 million,” Haddad said. “We are just indicating that K21 has made a commitment for $1 million. If it turns out that the solution is more than 1 million dollars, then additional funding has to be pursued.”
Second, Haddad said, there has to be a commitment that the ice rink will be located in the central part of the county for maximum benefit of all county residents. Haddad said K21 Foundation would interpret that as the greater Warsaw or Winona Lake.
Lastly, the primary intent is that an ice rink is available for year-round opportunities.
“Our hope is that whoever brings a plan to K21 to get the pledge committed would be able to show a 12-month or year-round value for that facility,” said Haddad.
Most ice rinks would run typically four to five months, Haddad said, from November to March. He pointed out that an open-air pavilion could provide other uses.
Board Member Michelle Boxell asked Haddad if there is an expiration date on the $1 million dollar offer.
“There isn’t currently a limit,” Haddad replied. “I would say that the first doable plan that would come to us that we believe is attainable, we would be open to approving. I don’t want to make the assumption that the Warsaw Parks is the only possible solution. If there were multiple plans presented, then I think we’d have to think through which the pledge would go to. We don’t see any reason or scenario where there would be more than one ice rink built.”
Haddad said the hope of K21 Health Foundation is that every resident in Kosciusko County continues to improve their health and have opportunities for a healthy life.
The reality of living in Northern Indiana, Haddad said, is that people have a lot of opportunities for activity during the summer months, “but we are still generally hibernating a lot in the winter.”
The size of a rink was discussed. Haddad said the ice rink should be big enough to accommodate a significant amount of public open skating.
“I think the question tends to be would you make it big enough that it’s an official hockey rink, which could provide opportunities for adult hockey leagues,” Haddad said. “But then … would those leagues get in the way of open skating for the community?”
Rob Parker, president, and CEO of Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce, read a letter from the Warsaw Community Development Corporation extending their support for a rink in Central Park.
“An opportunity such as this just doesn’t come along often and we believe it should be seized for the good of our community,” the letter read in part.
Michelle Boxell said timing of the project will be important.
“I think the money and the timeline are completely outside our five year plan,” Board President Steve Haines acknowledged. “This is something that came up new. It’s going to have to be done with private donations and things like that.
A motion was made and seconded to move forward with plans for a study to determine if this is something the park board wants to do. The motion was unanimously approved.
The first phase of work on Lucerne Park Amphitheater has been completed, according to Maintenance Director Shaun Gardner. The parks department finished all landscaping along the stairways and the walkway going toward the lake and added flower beds along the stage area. Gardner said a sidewalk was added at the top and a walkway at the bottom for ADA compliancy.
Board members discussed prices for renting the amphitheater. The plaza at Center Lake rents for a daily rate of $100. It was agreed that the amphitheater rent should be at least as much as the plaza.
Warsaw Parks Department Superintendent Larry Plummer suggested lowering the damage deposit at the plaza now that security cameras have been installed. The damage deposit is currently $250.
A motion was made to set the daily rental rate for both the plaza and the amphitheater at $100 and to lower the damage deposit to $100; however, the motion was not seconded. Haines said rental rates would be looked at again at next month’s meeting.
The next board meeting will be at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19.