September 13, 2013

Logansport parks board considers disposal of several properties

Nearly half of parks up for sale, lease or sponsorship

by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune

---- — The Logansport Parks and Recreation Board is considering putting up 10 properties for sale, lease or sponsorship in response to the city administration’s encouragement to reduce park properties to ultimately keep a lid on expenses.

“It was emphasized extremely at the council budget hearing that we have to reduce our land,” Logansport Parks Administrator Jan Fawley told parks and recreation board members at its monthly meeting Wednesday night.

Fawley said she had met with parks and recreation board members to prioritize the 21 properties the department oversees.

“These are the ones that are left over,” she said, referring to a resolution that lists the parks to be made available.

The list includes the Benjamin Long Recreation Center, Flory Nature Preserve and Biddle Island, Burkhart, Dunwoody, Flory Memorial, Heritage Preservation, Jean Cole, Memorial and Patriot parks.

Board members said they wanted to explore whether it would be possible to dispose of properties managed by the parks department that aren’t parks as well. Members referred to the mowing and maintenance the department has to do on areas of grass near 24th and George streets, along Cass Plaza Road and the grass that divides East Broadway west of 26th Street.

“It’s a weight around our neck,” said Marty Monahan, a board member.

In light of these concerns, Monahan moved to amend the resolution to include not only parks, but “park-managed properties” as well.

The possibility of transferring the maintenance of these properties to the streets department was mentioned as well.

Logansport Superintendent of Public Works Dan Williams said in an interview he has discussed this proposal with Mayor Ted Franklin and is willing to allow the street department to take on the responsibility of those non-park areas the parks department currently oversees.

“If they put them up for sale and they don’t sell, we will keep them mowed and do the maintenance,” Williams said. “We’re more than willing to take care of them.”

The amendment and the resolution passed unanimously. Fawley said the board would hold a second vote at next month’s meeting.

While the language in the resolution reads the properties will be made available for sale, lease or sponsorship, several board members said they preferred the first of those options.

“I think the issue is, down the road, if it dissolves, then it’s back to us,” said Jeff Smith, secretary of the board. “It’s always hanging out there. If we could outright sell a property, I think that would be preferable.”

Monahan shared Smith’s concern.

“If not, we’ll be beating this bush every year,” he said.

Parks for sale, lease or sponsorship: Benjamin Long Recreation Center Biddle Island Park Burkhart Park Dunwoody Park Flory Nature Preserve Flory Memorial Heritage Preservation Park Jean Cole Park Patriot Park Source: Logansport Parks and Recreation Department