Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

January 13, 2014

ON THE RIGHT PATH

City leaders develop master plan for parks

GOSHEN

Fidler Pond Park made a splash. What’s next?

More broadly, what may the future hold for all of the Goshen parks system and programming? Parks and Recreation Department staff and board members are working to chart the course, and the public can help.

A five-year master plan process for the department is underway. Park board members are set to review a draft of the plan during their meeting today. A public presentation of the master plan draft is scheduled for Feb. 17.

After that, people are invited to make comments until mid-April. The plan — a requirement for city officials to receive federal funding — will then be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources.

Park officials are looking ahead. And the future includes potential for continued development of Fidler Pond Park.

A destination spot

The Fidler park, located at 1424 Lincolnway East, opened to the public over the Labor Day holiday.

Originally a gravel quarry owned by the Fidler family and more recently by Aggregate Industries, the pond was purchased in December 2012 for around $550,000. It now boasts a 1.5-mile trail and a designated fishing area.

“I would not be surprised if in the very near future if (Fidler Pond Park) didn’t become one of our primary parks,” said parks department Superintendent Sheri Howland. “Because that parking lot is full. We need to address additional parking there at some point. It seems everyone wants to visit that beautiful park now.”

Park board member Jim Wellington had championed the former Fidler site becoming a city park.

“I’m very happy with how people started using it right away, and how much people have liked it,” he said.

As with any parks undertaking, available funding is key to any Fidler enhancement. That said, the site’s potential has prompted interest from financial backers.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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