Parks Department Gathering Public Input

The public has an opportunity to express opinions on the Warsaw Parks & Recreation Department through a survey both online and in paper form.
The survey, which everyone is encouraged by the Park Board and Department to fill out, is available online at
The department is updating its five-year master plan, and the survey was created to gather input from residents to help guide the process.
Patrick Brown, landscape architect with Sitescapes, Mishawaka, reported to the Park Board at its meeting Tuesday that the five-year master plan is a month ahead of schedule. Initially, he was going to bring the survey to the board at its May meeting, but he and Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer decided to go ahead and get it moving this month.
Brown presented the board with drafts of the public and focus group surveys. He said the hard copy of the public survey will be available at the Park Department’s office, city hall and other public places. A tag line for the online survey will be on utility bills going out, the department’s website and Facebook page and wherever else they can get it plugged, he said.
Plummer looked at it and gave his thumbs up to the survey, Brown said.
For the last five-year master plan public survey, Plummer said they sent out about 4,600 but only got about 300 back.
“We really feel that through this Survey Monkey (website) we can reach more people and make it easier for people to take the survey,” Plummer said.
City Council representative to the Park Board Diane Quance asked if, under the park maintenance set of questions of the public survey, a line could be added asking if there were concerns over any particular facilities. Brown said he could add that question and send Plummer the updated one today.
Other than the survey, Brown said they were working on the background of the parks, have taken a tour of all the parks and will continue to work on the master plan.
Plummer told the Park Board members that he also provided them with a copy of the Park Department’s mission statement. Brown said every five years it’s good for the board to review that and see if anything needs fine tuned.
Since the board didn’t have a quorum, it couldn’t vote on the next presentation it heard, but will bring it up to vote at its May meeting.
Marci Franks, Warsaw Community Schools director of food and nutrition services, asked the board for permission to have the Summer Meal Program at Bixler Park. This will be the 10th year for the program that provides meals to children during the summer.
She said it provides 2,000 to 3,000 meals per month, depending on the weather. Last year the program’s numbers topped off at serving over 160 on the best days.
“We’ve had very good feedback, very good attendance, and we’re hoping you’ll consider that again,” Franks said.
Plummer said they haven’t encountered any problems with the program and it works very well.
After determining that the board could not vote on the matter since a quorum wasn’t present, Franks’ request was tabled to the May meeting. Franks will prepare all the paperwork on her end with the state and have it ready to go.
“You know it’s not going to be turned down,” Board President Steve Haines said.
Franks said the board’s support was appreciated.
The board then discussed new playground and exercise equipment at Lucerne Park.
Plummer reminded the board they discussed it a little at the March meeting and were looking to replace the old wooden structures at Lucerne. The exercise equipment would be put in one location near the cabins.
He showed the board the various choices for the equipment, but without a quorum no decisions were made.
Plummer then told the board the park laborers started putting the new banners up in Central Park Tuesday along Canal Street.
“They look nice,” Haines said.
Maintenance Director Shaun Gardner reported he met with Tim Hori from Warsaw Fiber Tuesday to try and get the WiFi hotspot at the Pike Lake campground going. The free hotspot will be accessible to the campers, with an option of having a stronger signal to stream movies and such for a slight charge.
Recreation Director Sheila Wieringa said Mantis Skate Park opened for the season Saturday.