by Amie Sites
Cass County commissioners agreed Monday to allow snowmobiles in designated areas at France Park.
Lucas Beach, the park’s director, said the new policy would take effect immediately and the designated areas would be clearly marked.
Beach said to his knowledge, snowmobiles had never before been allowed at the park.
“I don’t know anywhere people can go and snowmobile in a local park,” Beach said. “It will open a new avenue for people.”
The park will also offer cross-country skiing. Beach said the park would have three or four sets of skis available for public use.
Beach said his plans for winter activities had received a lot of support from both the commissioners and the community.
Commissioner Dave Arnold said the idea is to get more people through the gates.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “We are supportive and appreciative of what Beach is doing and he has got feedback from the community.”
Beach has also been approved to add a zip-line at France Park and hopes to have it set up by the end of March. His goal, he said, is to attract more visitors to the park.
“I think people are going to be positive,” Beach said. “What is going to help the economy in Logansport is to be able to recreate for a low cost. We can’t change the country, but we can change this area.”
Arnold said he thinks the park will attract, not only local residents, but people from out of town.
“Parks are a place for people to visit and have a good time,” Arnold said. “Beach has a lot of things going on.”
Along with the zip-line and snowmobiles, Beach has added three quarters of a mile of mountain biking trails that he hopes to have finished by the first of the year. Because they are cutting into a rock side, he said, it’s not an easy trail to make.
Beach is also working on a 5-year plan.
Beach said when he became superintendent there wasn’t an electronic copy of a 5-year plan to update so he is creating a plan from scratch.
“Our objective is not so much for the park staff, but it’s for the people who are enjoying this park,” Beach said. “These things won’t be done immediately, but they will be completed.”
Beach said he also wants to update the restrooms, wooden structures in the park and he wants to look into adding rental cabins in the future.
“It’s had a lot of good, positive remarks,” Beach said. “People know the park isn’t going to turn around in a day, but we’re going to push forward as efficiently as possible. We will turn this park around.”
Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.