By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — Warsaw Parks Department Recreation Director Sheila Wieringa was given approval to apply for a K21 Health Foundation grant that would be used toward the relocation and renovation of Mantis Skate Park.
Wieringa requested permission to apply for the $150,000 grant at the Warsaw Board of Public Works & Safety meeting Friday, Oct. 16.
The parks department would like the skate park to be centrally located in Warsaw, as addressed in their 2017-2021 master plan, while providing various degrees of difficulty for beginner to advanced skaters.
Tentative plans involve moving the skate park from the current Boggs Industrial Park to an area on the west end of Richardson-Dubois Park near the Dollar General Store on Market Street.
According to information provided by Wieringa, the current ramps at Mantis Park were installed by American Ramp Company in 2008 and have a 10-year life expectancy. ARC recently inspected the ramps and stated they were impressed with the condition of the ramps and believe they could be moved to the new location with minimal rebuilding.
Mantis Skate Park’s current site is asphalt and is in need of repaving, which would require moving the ramps, rebuilding them and replacing them on the repaved surface.
Wieringa said the asphalt has multiple cracks and becomes sticky in the summer heat. The asphalt surface also allows the ramps to sink over time, causing a lip at the bottom of the ramps which creates a hazard for skateboarders.
In addition, the asphalt has developed low spots that retain water when it rains. This results in the skate park being closed due to standing water.
Wieringa told Board of Works that Mantis Skate Park does not have running water or public restrooms and the cost to run water or sewer to the site would be significant. Portable toilets are placed there during the months the park is open for skate park staff and patrons to use.
“The existing skate park area out in Boggs — there is a plan,” Wieringa said. “There’s been concern about what will happen to that ground once the skate park is moved. That will be redeveloped for some sort of outdoor recreational use.”
Wieringa told board members that due to concern about taking something from the patrons in the Boggs Industrial Park area by moving the skate park, the parks department tried to determine the number of people the move might affect.
“We ran the numbers from 2019. We didn’t do 2020 because 2020 has just been a mess as far as usership of the parks altogether, but we did look at the 2019 numbers,” Wieringa said.
The results showed that seven youngsters, mostly in the pre-teen age group, used the park one time. One of those seven used it almost daily.
“So it would affect one person from that area who was actively walking to that park by moving it over to the Market Street area,” Wieringa said.
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer told Wieringa he appreciated the parks department looking into any negative impact that moving the park might have on residents in that area.
Mayor Thallemer reiterated that there are plans to potentially repurpose the current Mantis Skate Park property into some sort of recreational facility.
The grant will be used as a match to a DNR land & water conservation grant, which is due June 1, 2021. The request will be submitted to the K21 Health Foundation for consideration.
In other matters, the Warsaw Police Department was given approval to enter into two contracts with Lexipol/PoliceOne Academy.
The first contract involves subscription fees for online ILEA-approved training courses.
The cost of the subscription is $2,520 for 40 officers with a one-time account service fee of $250, for a total cost of $2,770. WPD Chief Scott Whitaker said the 2020 police training budget covers the cost.
The second contract involves updating WPD’s policy manual based on state and federal laws as well as national best practices.
When needed, Lexipol will create and update policies and provide them to WPD which will keep all policy content up to date. Lexipol will also provide daily training bulletins which are designed to assist officers in learning and applying policy content through training exercises.
By using Lexipol, the city of Warsaw’s liability insurance carrier, EMC, will provide an annual discount to the city’s law enforcement liability coverage cost.
The cost for the yearly subscription is $12,105.70 with a one-time implementation fee of $17,745.30 for a total of $29,851. The company will provide a 15 percent annual discount for entering into a subscription with Lexipol and a one-time 10 percent discount on the implementation fee.
Thallemer said he will feel very comfortable having a second set of eyes on local policies.
“I think the fact that our liability insurance carrier is willing to give us a discount shows that from a risk management standpoint, this makes a ton of sense,” Mayor Thallemer added.
The next annual installment will not be due until January 2022.
In other matters:
- The city of Warsaw renewed an annual maintenance agreement with American Elevator in the amount of $2,434.69.
- The next regular meeting will be held at 11:15 a.m. Nov. 6.