Goshen News, Goshen, IN

January 15, 2014

Public should have its say on plans for parks

Goshen News

---- — Green grass, warm summer days and dabbling ducks come to mind as images often seen and enjoyed in Goshen parks. But there is much more to the city parks, where activites are non-stop, healthy and fun.

Right now, the Goshen Parks & Recreation Board is taking stock of what it has on hand in the way of facilites and programs. This process is being done through the drafting of a master plan. Both the city government and the park departments create their own master plans. For the park board, the plan will be used as a guide to create program and facilities for the coming decade.

The reason the parks plan is so important is that it will be based on a lot of public comments, which will be distilled into projections of what the public wants in the coming years.

In Monday’s edition of The Goshen News, it was pointed out that surveys from the public showed that bicycle/pedestrian trail development was the most desired additions in the coming years. An ice skating rink was second.

Here at The Goshen News we are a big fan of trails. We think they serve mulitiple functions, as transportation routes, safe exercise areas and probably the most important thing, as personal socialization structures where friends and families spend time bicycling, strolling or running together.

The park department now has several trails it manages and will add the one to the fairgrounds this spring. We hope more are developed in the future.

And like many residents who filled out the survey, we also would like to see an ice skating rink constructed. The pond at Shanklin Park used to routinely freeze and was used for the ice skating facility. Then the pond became less likely to freeze and the park department created a small rink at Abshire Park. But that too also went away. It sure would be fun to see Goshen children again playing pickup games of hockey.

We don’t think the ice rink has to be elaborate. It could be a seasonal facility, but on a larger scale than the one at Abshire.

This master plan for the parks department is not finished and the board is open to more ideas. The public can still comment until mid-April. The draft of the plan is scheduled to be the topic of a public meeting Feb. 17. We urge Goshen residents to let their opinions about the park system and its needs be known.