By Maggie Kenworthy
WARSAW — During the Warsaw Parks and Recreation Board meeting held Tuesday, Jan. 19, most of the discussion centered on special projects planned for 2021.
Warsaw Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer reviewed the list of upcoming projects for the board. There were 14 projects on the list, including installing new park signs, installing the playground at Ker Park, purchasing a new playground for Beyer Park and purchasing a new truck for the department.
Plummer also informed the board that the K21 Foundation recently pledged a $150,000 grant to help fund moving Mantis Skate Park to Richardson Dubois Park. This grant is contingent upon the department receiving a DNR grant, which will be applied for in June. If both of these grants are received, the department will need another $50,000 to fully fund the project.
“We look to hopefully someday get back to our rentals and things like that,” said Plummer. “I think we are a little smarter with the COVID on our rentals and I think that’s something that can be done as far as picnic tables to allow people to access those and rent those. As soon as we get out of the red, we will get back to renting our facilities … we’d like to get the public back in our buildings and create that revenue stream again but we want to do it in a safe manner.”
Mayor Joseph Thallmer was present at the meeting and wanted to thank the department and the board for everything they’ve done during the pandemic.
“With the challenges the community had faced with COVID, I know the parks have lost some revenues with not being able to rent the facilities,” said Thallemer. “I just want to ensure everyone that the facilities have been assets to our community as we are working through COVID.”
He brought up the fact that the bloodmobile is frequently at Center Lake Pavilion, which has helped due to the current blood shortage. Initially, Center Lake Park was also used as a COVID-19 testing site.
“We’ve also basically arranged to have the pavilion at Center Park be a potential vaccination site should we get more vaccinations allotted to the county from the state,” continued Thallemer. “There’s a possibility we could be notified in a moment’s notice that there might be more vaccinations available. I think it’s important that we’re ready to try and spread that out and get those vaccinations done … Our facilities, while they may not have been generating revenue, they are being used in many great ways.”
During the maintenance report, it was noted that the annual Christmas light display collected $401 in donations. This is less than usually collected, but is considered a decent amount due to the absence of the Young Tigers trailer where donations are normally collected.
For the recreation report, the board was informed that the Imagination Station program is running smoothly, with every single kit being picked up by a family each date. Another round of this program will be happening soon. The virtual Santa visits were utilized by 18 different families.
The department is busy planning all the normal events for the upcoming year, such as the concert series. While planning for normal events, they are also getting creative with what type of programming can happen if COVID-19 is still prevalent in the area.
During the meeting, board members Steve Haines and Noemi Ponce receive the oath of office. Haines has served on the board for at least four terms while Ponce is a brand new member.
The board also held the annual election of officers. Haines was reappointed as president and Larry Ladd was reappointed as vice-president.