WARSAW — The Kosciusko County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission meeting held Wednesday, Sept. 12, mainly focused on lake studies and new trails in the area.
Dr. Nate Bosch, director of the Lilly Center for Lakes and Streams at Grace College, was the first to present information to the commission, starting his discussion with the success of the Northern Indiana Lakes and Streams Festival held in May at Center Lake in Warsaw. More than 6,000 people attended the festival, which focused on both family fun and lake education.
“We really wanted people to leave the event with some sense of responsibility for cleaning and caring for lakes and streams in Kosciusko County,” said Bosch. “The event was also a great way for people to realize just how cool our community really is.”
Bosch thanked the commission for helping sponsor the festival and presented each member with a swag bag from the event. The commission also discussed the parade held during the festival and mentioned the potential for the commission to help the parade grow for next year’s event.
Operating support for the Lilly Center was also discussed. Bosch said that monetary requests from the Center to the commission will decrease yearly. He mentioned that the requests are important to help reduce potential threats, noting railroads that are located in close proximity to the county’s lakes.
“We want to make sure we’re properly prepared if something like a train derailment were to happen,” said Bosch.
Bosch also discussed various lake studies that were completed over the summer, including studies related to blue-green algae, zebra mussels and boating effects on lakes.
The commission and Bosch also spent part of the meeting discussing advertising for the county in regards to its lakes. The commission complimented four current billboards in the area for their overall appearance and simplified look.
Karl Swihart, executive director of the City-County Athletic Complex, spoke briefly at the meeting about upcoming baseball tournaments and clean-up taking place at the facility.
The Kosciusko County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau board also presented information at the meeting, mainly focusing on the bureau’s non-profit status. The bureau’s status was awarded in 1987. However, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether or not the bureau was classified as a 501c3 or 501c6 status. Sandy Seney, accounts manager on the bureau’s hospitality team, worked with the IRS to learn about the bureau’s status. However, Seney learned that the bureau had been flagged as an entity because the IRS had never actually awarded the bureau a status at all. The IRS will be classifying the CVB as a 501c6 non-profit.
The CVB will also be holding a combined retreat at the Kosciusko County Community Foundation on Tuesday, Oct. 9. During the meeting, the Visitors’ Bureau also discussed developing its business plan and improving upon its analytics for social media improvement.
Megan McClellan, executive director of the Syracuse-Wawasee Trails Foundation, said a ribbon cutting ceremony was recently held for a completed trail between Wawasee High School and Brook Pointe Inn. McClellan also gave an update on the Conklin Bay trail project and stated that she is meeting with contractors on Sept. 13. Bids for the project will be heard on Oct. 4.
The commission’s next meeting will be at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7.