By Phoebe Muthart
SYRACUSE — Syracuse-Wawasee Park Foundation met Tuesday, July 27, at the Syracuse Community Center. The committee members heard a report that work on the new Schrock Fields will begin soon.
Chad Jonsson, park superintendent, said Beer and Slabaugh, Nappanee, is working on the project. All permits are in, he said, including erosion control and driveway permits.
“We are moving forward,” he said.
Next week is a planning meeting with the contractor to set aside a plan to start the project.
“They realize there’s a need,” said Jonsson. “By the fall of next year, we hope to be playing ball. It’s hard to know, but we will wait and see.”
“That is exciting,” said Dr. Tom Edington.
Jonsson noted, however, the project will cost more than expected. He said bids for the new ballfields were higher than expected.
“We are way over,” he said.
He is working with the engineer to figure where to go next and what might be able to be eliminated. He said the triathlon is this Saturday, July 31. The park department will be setting up for the event this Friday, July 30. Jonsson noted the health department still tests beaches weekly.
Edington presented the park foundation’s finances.
“We had a couple of donations,” he said. “So we had an increase in funds.”
So far, donations this year have totaled $404,700. Some of the money will be used toward the new ballfields, such as landscaping.
Edington also presented the Syracuse Community Center endowment fund, beginning July 1, 2020. There were no contributions this period and no grants. There is $34,377.47 available, however, for distribution.
“Last year we lost a bit but this year we gained,” Edington said.
Jonsson said the 22-year-old community center will need a new roof this year. He has set aside park foundation funds to be used for the project. He doesn’t know how much a new roof will cost but he said, “We can easily get to the funds.”
He has set aside $70,000 to $80,000 for the future project. The building is 14,000 square feet.
Jonsson gave the trail committee report. He said the trail committee feasibility study is underway with USI. The committee meets with USI monthly. The company is working on three things. One is how to get around Lake Wawasee and second, how to connect to the new ballfields on Kern Road with the current trail. Third, plans are also how to connect to the trail on Chicago Street.
A fundraiser is this Thursday, July 29. An update on what they’ve found so far will be presented.
“We need community input,” said Edington. “We are looking for input as we move forward. We need to find how to safely and efficiently get a trail around Syracuse and Wawasee lakes.”