From building the McHale Complex at Riverside Park to hanging pots of pink petunias along downtown streets, Logansport resident Kathy Dingo led the charge on dozens of projects designed to beautify Logansport.
Praised for her ideas and drive to make them reality, Dingo, 64, passed away Wednesday.
Dingo, heavily involved in downtown revitalization efforts through Logan’s Landing, was recognized last year as one of Indiana Main Street’s 2012 Board Members of the Year and a co-recipient of the 2012 Beacon Award given by the Pharos-Tribune. Both honored her involvement with Logan’s Landing fundraiser “Dancing with Our Stars” and with efforts to establish several “pocket parks,” or small landscaped green spaces, throughout downtown Logansport.
She was involved in numerous committees and projects through Logan’s Landing including the Celebrate Logansport strawberry festival, Taste of Cass County, Art on the Avenue, Green and Clean Day, and the inaugural Italian Dinner that took place this past April.
The magnitude of her volunteer efforts was “totally phenomenal,” said Pam Leeman, a close associate of Dingo’s through Logan’s Landing. “It’s almost as though you go into anything that happened that’s major in the community, and she was there.”
In about 1994, Dingo, then a member of the Cass County Carousel board of directors, joined the carousel’s building committee to help raise funds for construction of the McHale Complex at Riverside Park. She remained on the carousel board through 1997, then was recruited by Logan’s Landing in 1999 to chair the fledgling downtown design committee.
Dingo spearheaded the Cole Park project while on the design committee, Leeman said.
“She not only was responsible for getting the donations to put the fountain in from the Cole family, she was there planning the shrubs ... anything that went into that park.” The Cole Park project earned Dingo Logan’s Landing’s Volunteer of the Year award in 2007.
Dingo also joined the Historic Preservation Commission when former Mayor Dick Prescott appointed her to the commission in 2002. She served in various capacities, most recently as this year’s commission president.
Former Logan’s Landing director Shae Kmicikewycz, now director of Indiana Main Street, recalled working with Dingo during the mid-2000s. Kmicikewycz took the lead at Logan’s Landing the same year Dingo joined the organization’s board of directors and became vice president of the city’s Downtown Review Board.
Around 2008, Dingo and Pam Leeman worked together to expand the Cass County Arts Alliance family arts festival, then an event at Riverside Park, and moving it to Little Turtle Waterway to become Art on the Avenue.
Dingo was also instrumental in adding baskets of pink flowers and hanging pots of pink petunias along city streets.
It wasn’t just that Dingo had ideas, Leeman said — “the woman physically got out there and dug the holes for the flowers.” The last project she worked on was planting more than 80 rosebushes and catnip plants near Security Federal.
“Every time we take our children and grandchildren to the carousel, we can think of Kathy. Every time the pink petunias line downtown, we can think of her.”
Dingo also had a hand in implementing downtown design guidelines, starting Logan’s Landing’s downtown facade funding program, helping downtown business owners with their interior and exterior redesigns and installing wayfinding sign boards at strategic downtown intersections.
“She was always one of those people who not only had ideas, but she took those ideas and did something with them,” Kmicikewycz said. “Her enthusiasm and passion always rubbed off on others and I believe that she was instrumental in making Logan’s Landing the organization it is today.”
That is, an organization that garnered statewide recognition in 2012. The organization won the Indiana Main Street Design of Downtown Public Improvements award for the Market Street pocket park featuring a sculpture named “The Dancers.”
“Even from the state level, we saw all the good that volunteers like Kathy had done for the Logansport community,” Kmicikewycz said Thursday. “She was instrumental in really pushing the organization and the community forward and I know that she will be dearly missed.”