By Briley Gargis
WINONA LAKE – The Winona Lake Residential Parking Study was presented to the town board Tuesday, July 21.
The study from Michiana Area Council Of Governments’ (MACOG) Donny Ritsema and Zach Dripps was done in the last two weeks of August 2019. The board mentioned their desire to have the presentation done a couple of months ago; however, COVID-19 prevented that.
Winona Lake residential areas were split up into five separate sections for the study. Sections included were the Island, northeast neighborhood, Town Hall, Grace College and south neighborhood. Total spaces available in these five sections were 941 non-restricted spots on-street and 25 off-street spots; five reserved on-street spots and 659 off-street spots; and 13 time-restricted on-street spots
Heavily congested spots include chunks of Chestnut Avenue and various spots on the Island, including Administration Boulevard and Auditorium Boulevard. Based on the findings of the study, a workshop was held on March 4, just before the shutdown occurred. About 11 attendees and other departments brainstormed separate ideas in order to reach a decision on what the best plan for the future of parking could be in Winona.
After the study was concluded, however, it was found that the scenario in the town was considered normal and didn’t show an immediate need for a large amount of change. Things that had been done since then were the painting of parking lines on Chestnut Avenue and taking a few signs off parking lots that indicate “No overnight parking.”
In accordance to the other parking issues the board has heard of, they made the decision to begin phasing in a more strict enforcement policy along with clear rules and signage to aid the process.
“Winona Lake Happenings” include the upcoming Winona Lake Jazz Festival at the Tabernacle Lawn being held from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 25. The event will again include a large tent as seen at the 4th of July concert; however, the board wants to remind guests to bring their own lawn chairs as seating inside the tent will be fairly restricted.
On August 15, the Sidewalk Sale in The Village at Winona will take place. Various shops in the Village will feature great deals and discounts. More information will be posted on the Facebook page as the event comes closer.
Annexation of the Raccoon Run property was approved at Tuesday’s meeting, allowing the town to officially have control over the area in hopes of expanding and improving their greenway system and town environment. The greenway will be receiving a large expansion in the coming years in order to build a more connected community, including running it to the recently acquired Raccoon Run property.
Hopes for the property include a new “Town Center” facility which will include the usage of the pool that is currently at Raccoon Run and other facilities for recreation and public use. This center will be a new recreational spot for the town to enjoy.
The Mitch Titus Memorial Firefighting training fund was approved in honor of the late Winona Lake fire chief. The fund will be made available for volunteer firefighters in training to have the out of pocket costs of their training be reimbursed. This will begin with Winona Lake and ultimately spread county-wide. Winona Lake will be giving $25,000 to the Kosciusko County Community Foundation to specifically act as the aid for volunteer firefighters. Other businesses and groups are expected to be joining in on the Mitch Titus Memorial Fund efforts.
The last issue brought up at the meeting was by a local resident who had some questions based on the fireworks issues. Although the board had no authority to make direct changes to any policies or laws, they shared their dissatisfaction with the frequency and noise level of fireworks in the town.