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October 1, 2013

PUBLIC FORUM: Letters from Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013

Sponsorship of parksis best alternative

The recent discussions about the “disposal” of park land has had varying responses of all types, from “You can’t do that!” to “It’s about time!” but especially – “We want to help!”

We currently maintain approximately 381 acres of land and 3.7 miles of trail on 21 parcels of property. The parks that have the most visitors, of course, are the most vital to our community, and those parks, in turn, receive the most attention from the public as well as our maintenance staff. But there are those properties in the city – easements or abandoned properties — that have fallen on our shoulders simply because we had the equipment to take care of it, and it was the most efficient use of the city’s labor force for the Parks Department to take care of those properties.

But that was before we had Little Turtle Waterway, Huston Park, Stonewall Park, and the Eel River Run. That was before permanent tax cuts have made our operating and capital budget even tighter than ever before.

And so, a list of properties was developed to present to the Parks Board that should be available for sponsorship, lease, or sale. This list was based on an earlier survey which the Parks Board members had completed. Even though we’ve published this list for potential sales, we want the public to understand that it is the Parks Board’s wish is to keep public green space intact for future generations if at all possible. It is for this reason, that we’ll be pursuing as many sponsorships as possible – either through financial gifts and/or gifts (in kind) of labor and materials.

Cole Park has the ideal sponsorship — one which we aspire to for all of the Logansport Parks. Kathy Dingo and Logan’s Landing recruited and inspired Milt and Jean Cole to be the driving force of developing Cole Park into the beautiful landmark that it is today. The Cole’s purchased the fountain, and have committed to providing resources that will maintain the fountain and the landscaping. In addition, Logan’s Landing recruited Home Depot Employees to provide the labor necessary to maintain that landscaping throughout the year. Just like Logan’s Landing has done for Cole Park, the formula of keeping the greenspace within the public domain, finding a financial sponsor, and a sponsor of labor for each of the Logansport Parks is the best alternative for our community.

I am encouraged by the fact that when news of our mandate was made public, the Parks Department received requests for more information on potential sponsorships for Burkhart Park, Heritage Park, the Flory Nature Preserve, and the Flory Memorial. We think that more potential sponsorships are out there, and we’re looking forward to hearing from interested parties — soon.

Janet Fawley

Parks administrator

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