Pharos-Tribune

Columns

September 16, 2013

PARKS AND REC: Logan parks must find balance

(Continued)

The opportunity to maintain or acquire park properties is now expanding. The park board and the city administration recognize the need to relinquish some of the lesser-used facilities to private ownership or use, so park maintenance staff can concentrate on the more heavily used parks which draw families and visitors to them. Toward that end, the park board recently considered a resolution which offers 10 properties, including Ben Long Center and Memorial Park, for sponsorship opportunities, or for sale or lease to private parties.

We are excited to add facilities to our park inventory, such as Huston Park, or the Eel River Run trail and the bridge over the Eel River, now being constructed. Both of these great facilities were made possible through grants and corporate or private donations —specifically the Cole, Huston and Penman families, and the Mike Anderson Auto Group. Their generosity has allowed these facilities to be built.

However, the parks department will still be responsible for maintenance, and we must find balance. We cannot continue adding to our facilities without adding maintenance staff or reducing the workload of existing staff. Some of the properties on the relinquishment list are parcels of land that have fallen into the jurisdiction of the Parks Department over the years simply because they had no other good use. It is our hope that we can find good homes for these parcels of land, so that we may concentrate efforts on our primary park properties that not only add quality of life to our citizens, but attract out of town and even out of state visitors.

Just this summer, a family friend visiting us from out of state wanted specifically to go see the Dentzel Carousel at Riverside Park. I’m sure my story is not unique. We want to continue putting our city’s best foot forward with our outstanding park facilities, and to make that happen, we will continue to rely on volunteers who give of their time, energy, or money to make our parks and programs what they are. For your efforts, we offer a sincere “Thank You.” Your efforts are very much appreciated.

Jeff Smith is a school board representative to the Logansport Parks Board.

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