KOSCIUSKO — Assistant City Planner Justin Taylor, on behalf of the city of Warsaw, requested approval for a $20,000 grant at the Kosciusko County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission meeting held Wednesday, July 18.
The grant is to help support the development of Rotary Park, located at the corner of West Center and West Market streets. Taylor said there have been changes from the initial concept, with the current concept creating more usable green space and a safer area for kids to play.
“We’ve changed the playground equipment to a more natural bouldering rock and we’ve included a placemaking monument which kind of gives a nod to the historical industry that was prevalent through Warsaw,” said Taylor. “The giant cogs that were donated by Lewis Salvage were taken from a local business.”
According to Taylor, the Warsaw Rotary Club has raised about $50,000 for the development of the park project, with the total budget estimated at $95,000.
“It’s really a team effort to get this park completed,” said Taylor, who told KCCRVC members they hope to have the park open early next summer.
An ongoing fundraiser allows individuals to purchase pavers to honor loved ones or veterans. The pavers will be used in the park. Individuals interested in purchasing a paver can visit https://polarengraving.com/WarsawrotaryClub
“From the moment I heard about this, I thought that was an odd spot for a park,” said KCCRVC Secretary Jo Paczkowsi. “With the sewer department on one side – I just thought it was an odd spot.” Paczkowski also cited concerns about safety.
“Is there parking on site?” Paczkowski inquired.
Taylor responded that the intent is to encourage recreational activities such as biking. “It’s connected to a neighborhood, so we would encourage residents to walk there.”
“There’s room on the north side of the park if we wanted to stripe that for parking,” said Taylor. “There is plenty of parking on the north side in the parking lot across the street.”
Taylor brought attention to the greenway being a large driver of tourism.
“As you know, we have several festivals that involve bicyclists along the greenway that have a large draw from neighboring towns and states,” Taylor said. “Adding these elements along the greenway really enhances the experience and encourages visitors to come back.”
“But there are no restroom facilities, so it’s not really a trailhead for the bikers,” Paczkowski pointed out.
Acknowledging there is no restroom on site, Taylor reported there would be a bike repair station.
“We could have a restroom for another $20,000,” Taylor joked, eliciting laughter.
Taylor explained that this will tie into other projects.
“The east side of Market Street has a pathway that’s already begun,” said Taylor. “Next year we’ll continue that pathway up to the Little Crow Loft area, stopping at 15, and then we’ll evaluate the next step. It’s really linking all these parks together through a large, multi-use path.”
Taylor’s request was approved.
Karl Swihart, executive director of the City-County Athletic Complex, gave an update.
CCAC recently received a $20,000 donation from the K21 Foundation. “This will help immensely with projects we need like roofs and parking lots,” Swihart said.
“We got our quote for our capital project, it’s right around $7.5 million,” Swihart stated. “We’re trying to do some sort of market grant right now, and after that, we’ll begin fundraising. It’ll be an indoor facility with two full-sized softball fields and one soccer field, all with artificial turf.”
Swihart said the facility will have offices and showers, and said their goal is for the facility to also serve as a convention center.
Jill Boggs, executive director of Kosciusko County Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented two grant requests and a KCCVB update. Boggs’ first grant request was related to regional trail branding and wayfinding for $2,500. This was approved.
A Smith Travel Research report grant request in the amount of $1,800 was also submitted by Boggs. The total cost is $3,600 for the research reports regarding tourism in our area, and Boggs asked that KCCRVC split the cost with KCCVB this year since they both benefit from the service. Boggs said she would budget for the full amount in 2019. This request was approved by KCCRVC.
Boggs reported that she gave notice in May to Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission of not renewing in 2019. “In light of that, we joined the Eastern Region Tourism Marketing Co-Op Group,” said Boggs.
Paczkowski requested that it be included in the meeting minutes that she has concerns regarding allocating more money than they may be receiving.
“We need to be sure we don’t lose our sense of balance,” Paczkowski cautioned.
“I agree – I don’t want to take us to nothing in our cash balance, but I also don’t think it’s fair to not spend those dollars and have them sitting in a fund,” said KCCRVC President Mark Skibowski.
- Martha Stoelting, representing the North Webster Tippecanoe township chamber of Commerce, requested and received $500 for advertising for the annual Dixie Day Festival.
- Minutes from the last meeting were approved, with one amendment.
- The next regular meeting will be at 9 a.m. on Sept. 12.