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September 16, 2013

PARKS AND REC: Logan parks must find balance

Summer may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean the activities involving the Logansport Parks Department are coming to an end.

September includes two events for which the Parks Department is a sponsor or partner. Riverside Park serves as the starting and ending point for the 2 Rivers on 2 Wheels bike tour. The Art on the Avenue event utilizes Little Turtle Waterway and nearby downtown areas. These popular events are made possible by the many volunteers who organize these attractions. While our parks maintenance staff, led by Parks Administrator Janet Fawley, works hard to maintain facilities and grounds, manage their use, and organize programs, their numbers are limited and they can only do so much. The programs and facilities we enjoy would not be possible without the volunteers who donate countless hours to improving the recreational offerings in Logansport and Cass County.

One shining example of volunteerism is the Little Turtle Waterway. This group, which has referred to themselves as the “hard core corps” of volunteers, works quietly to make repairs and improvements to the Little Turtle Waterway area. In fact, the entire Little Turtle project might have never happened without the vision and volunteer efforts of Chairwoman Mercedes Brugh, who just this year was named the statewide volunteer of the year by the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association.

The latest newsletter from the nonprofit Little Turtle Waterway Corp. outlines some recent volunteer efforts. These include the 12 bird houses built and installed by Ralph Sherrill, the planting and maintenance of 25 new trees organized by Jonathan Justice, or the improvements to the terraces west of Third Street organized by Sue Norris, with the help of the Indiana Environmental Health Association. There are many other volunteers who make routine repairs and improvements along the corridor.

Enlisting volunteers or private entities to help maintain park facilities is nothing new. There are citizens who quietly pick up trash or report problems and expect nothing in return. The various athletic leagues who utilize the park facilities have for years been responsible for basic maintenance of the fields on which they play. The West Logan neighborhood group has recently agreed to adopt the upkeep of Memorial Park, which is a small tract of land at the northwest corner of the Market Street Bridge. The “grow, don’t mow” planting of wild flowers and grasses was the result of a Boy Scout project. And two years ago, the park board was prepared to lease the Benjamin Long Center to an area couple for a business venture, but the deal fell through at the final hour.

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