Local business owner and democratic mayoral candidate Tony Gamble presented a project he would like to see. Gamble said, “I’m not here asking for something small. We have a great park department and wonderful parks but we are lacking a place where children of all abilities can play.” He continued by saying, “We need an all inclusive playground.”
Mr. Gamble has a young son with cerebral palsy and has not been able to play on a playground. He continued by saying the “Handicap” playground near the Hoosier Old Wheels pavilion at the back of the park is not accessible to everyone. His son was using a walker at the park a few years ago and the many different levels make it difficult to maneuver. In fact his son fell face first at the park.
Gamble presented each board member with literature on what he was proposing. Krieger Park in Fort Wayne will be opening a $1.4 million boundless playground, the first in Indiana this spring. Their park is divided into age appropriate pods and includes a splash pad in the center. The activities are accessible to everyone and even include sensory activities for children with autism.
Gamble said, “Creating a park playground like this will take care of people from Plymouth, Marshall County and people from the surrounding counties. It will become an attraction and people will come to experience it and they might stay to shop or eat in our restaurants.”
Wilson Gerard said offering a few RV parking sites for self-contained units would open opportunities to visitors. He spoke of travels he and his wife had taken over the year. They would go into a community, set up camp in the park, unhitch their vehicle and experience the community…shopping, eating and so forth.
The results of a survey sent out in water bills of city residents last year were discussed. The list of ideas created from the survey show in order of comments with the top item being, have equipment cleaned and maintained or updated. Second on the list is “the park is fine as is” while third on the list is the creation of a dog park followed by more police supervision and more senior citizen activities. Other suggestions include more benches, security cameras, phones in walking areas, create a Splash Pad, better restrooms, and more walking paths. Other recommendations include improved park for mentally and physically handicapped, more teenage activities, more use of the amphitheater, better reservation system, create a wetlands, close in the Kiddy Kingdom, decrease program costs, improve programs on the river and restrooms on the walking path. Other suggestions included Wi-Fi, close the park after November 1st, fix water fountains, get rid of the Cottonwood trees in the park, movies in the park, improve shuffleboard, more hours and less fee for the pool, opportunities to cut fire wood, more public information, more trees, flowers and bushes, no dogs, river access and staying on budget.
All suggestions and recommendations will be added to the park department’s 5-year plan. The final draft of the plan is due on April 15th. In order for the park to be eligible for DNR grants the 5-year plan needed to be updated because it was 10 year old.