With Community Build, Limitless Park Dream Becomes Reality

Over two days, nearly 100 people helped build the new playground equipment at Winona Lake Limitless Park.
Park Director Holly Hummitch estimated there were about 25 people for the prep work Friday and about 50 Saturday for the community build.
“It’s been going better than expected. It’s been great,” she said a little after 1 p.m. Saturday. “We’ve had everyone help from little ones to seniors. We have found something for every age to do.”
The youngest volunteer was a 2-year-old, who Hummitch said she had help clean up and put food out for the workers.
Next week the concrete borders will be poured, and the following week the resilient surfacing will be done. The playground will be ready to play on once the concrete is poured and set.
“It’s a three-week process,” she said.
The playground was phase 2.1 of the Limitless Park, with the Splashpad being phase 1. Phase 2 was split into several sections, she said. Planning for it began in 2011.
Seeing how far it’s come, Hummitch said, “I want to cry. It’s emotional because it’s so awesome to see all of our hard work become reality.”
Winona Lake Councilman Rick Swaim helped with the build for several hours Friday and close to all day Saturday.
“The neat part is to see the fruition of this over the last five to six years,’ he said.
Swaim said several people have had their hands in bringing it about, including Hummitch, Shelby Beam and Erin Porter.
The Limitless Park began as a Kosciusko Leadership Academy White Paper Project. The KLA project won the $1,000 Northenor Award in 2012. The original committee formed to turn it into a reality included Porter, Mary Pat Wallen, Abby Weiss, Jennifer Orr, Hummitch, Beam, Kelly Hicks, John Boal, Greg Winn and Town Coordinator Craig Allebach, according to a 2012 Times-Union story.
Porter was the driving force behind fundraising for the park and seeing that it met the needs of those with special needs, Swaim said.
“This is really exciting to see five years of dreams come to fruition,” Porter said. “It’s really cool to see the whole community come out.”
She said when people invest their time in a project like the community build, they really take ownership of it.
“Fifty to 60 people here today is a testament to Winona Lake’s heart,” she said. “And to Warsaw, too, as there’s been a few people from Warsaw here to help.”
Russ Parrott, 36, Winona Lake, was volunteering with his wife, Rebecca, since 8 a.m. Saturday.
He said they volunteered “to benefit the community and it’s a handicapped-accessible playground we’re building.”
The last time Parrott participated in a community build was in Michigan when he was 11 years old.
“It’s good,” he said of Saturday’s efforts. “We’ve been meeting other people from the community.”
Ryan Johnson, 29, Winona Lake, lives across the street from the park with his spouse and child. He volunteered on and off all day Saturday when he didn’t have baby duty at home.
“We have a 1-1/2-year-old so we wanted to take part in building the playground he will play on the rest of his life,” Johnson said.
He helped put in several standing platforms and shorter stairs.
“It’s pretty amazing that the community came together and put this thing together. Anything can happen when people come together,” he said.
Jacob Dohner, 17, Warsaw, spent six hours at the community build Saturday with his family.
“It’s been a little bit of a challenge but fun,” Dohner said. “I learned a couple of things like some easier ways to be efficient when putting things together.”