By Leah Sander
WARSAW — The late Charles A. Ker would be thrilled about the revamped park that carries his family’s name.
That’s according to Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer who made the comment following a ribbon-cutting for Ker Park, located at 1220 E. Market St., Tuesday afternoon, July 27.
“I remember Charlie Ker’s smile and I tell you right now he’s smiling,” Thallemer said. “Charlie’s got a great smile and he loved kids and this just fit perfect.”
The park has new playground equipment, new sidewalks and picnic tables.
Among those attending the event were Charlie Ker’s widow, Connie Ker and their son, Kevin Ker.
Charles A. Ker’s mother Jessie A. Ker donated land for the park in 1989 in honor of her late husband Charles H. Ker. This was done in partnership with Dalton Foundries, where Charles H. Ker served as president. The park opened in 1992.
Connie Ker spoke before the ribbon-cutting about what Warsaw parks have meant to her family and others.
“I raised all my children in Warsaw and they loved the playgrounds,” she said. “They loved the parks and you never forget that. And these neighborhood parks allow parents the opportunity to not have to drive distances to get there. And as you can see, this is … a beautiful spot with a lot of children around, and so it’s paying it forward.”
Connie Ker donated money for equipment at the park for children ages 2-5. Other parts of the park project were paid for by a $52,439.77 grant from Sinclair Recreation LLC. Indiana American Water donated a drinking fountain for the park.
“Well, just to get the kids out and exercising and keeping their bodies healthy and having fun together as a family,” Ker said about what she hopes the park can do for the community.
Sinclair Recreation’s Ron Blake noted before the ribbon-cutting that the equipment was designed to keep kids active.
“This playground incorporates … six elements of play: balancing … overhead climbing, climbing, spinning, sliding and swinging,” he said.
He presented a certificate to Warsaw Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer for the park renovation.
Blake and Sinclair’s Rocki Stillson said a QR code is on a sign at the park. Information from people who scan the QR code will help with installing other such playgrounds, they said.
Wendy Mink of Midstates Recreation, which supplied equipment, complimented the city.
Thallemer chimed in, thanking Plummer for the work he put in.
“Larry, I want to give you and the (Warsaw parks) board a hand,” he said. “This is what happens when … we plan and we look forward and when we have our community input to decide what the community wants, what they need. Along this trail system that’s connecting our communities, this is just an asset that goes beyond what I thought it was going to be.”
Kosciusko Chamber President and CEO Rob Parker pointed out that the revamped park is also good for sustaining and increasing home values in the neighborhood.
Plummer said he was thankful to Connie Ker, the parks board and the Warsaw City Council for support.
“We want kids to be active and play and give them the facilities to do that and I feel this park does that very well,” he said.