Planners are describing a new vision for 10-acre Werling Park in New Haven in hopes that grants will become available to turn those plans to reality.
The New Haven Adams Township Parks & Recreation Board on Monday approved ETICA Group architects’ proposal to update the 2014 draft. The New Haven firm had offered to write the update for $10,900. The draft is due by the end of the year.
“Once we get this information we can begin working on grants, funding and sponsors,” said Mike Clendenen, parks superintendent.
“I think it’s important to have park properties planned out because you never know when funding opportunities will come along,” Clendenen said later in a phone interview.
Clendenen distributed maps that showed the original master plan, which anticipated a community center at Werling Park. That plan was drawn before a 12-acre property with access from Indiana 930 on the city’s west side became available in 2016. A building there was converted to a community center. A fitness center was completed in 2017. The opportunity that created that new hub of park activities also left Werling Park open to new opportunities.
The original master plan prepared by ETICA included a large parking lot and a smaller lot, a pavilion, children’s playground, splash pad, outdoor fitness area and a storm retention pond to handle run-off from the paved parking lots. The park already includes a large green space, a small storage/maintenance building and a half-mile walking path. The new document will contemplate a pavilion, a children’s playground, a splash pad, an outdoor fitness area and a much smaller parking lot.
Werling Park is almost a mile south of the downtown, on the west side of Werling Road about a quarter-mile north of Moeller Road.
In other business:
• Clendenen reported that the Jury Park playground project will be complete with the installation of an inclusive spinner — an updated version of a merry-go-round — that is already on location. All that remains is to pay Brooks Construction of Fort Wayne $113,000 for paving the pickleball and basketball courts. Another firm handled the playground resurfacing and added new lighting.
Overall cost of the Jury Park project is $460,000, with $200,000 being paid by a federal Land, Water and Conservation Fund grant, which is administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The work includes renovation of the tennis courts, which included new fencing and surfacing. Eight leased security lights were replaced to do away with overhead wiring. LED lights now overlook the courts. The space once occupied by four tennis courts now includes two tennis courts, four pickleball courts and a basketball court. “It’s been very busy,” Clendenen said.
• Clendenen reported that one bid has been received for renovation of the Jury Park water slide. Two more bids are expected and the board plans to choose a contractor in November. Clendenen said renovation of the 10-year-old water slide should be completed in spring 2021.
• The board approved Clendenen’s proposal for a full-time fitness center manager. ”The job has grown considerably since the center opened and requires a person who can focus on the area 40 hours a week,” Clendenen said. “More classes are being added and it’s simply too much for a part-time employee.” He expects to post the job and have that person in place by the end of the year.
• The board accepted a donation of $1,000 from Joy Fellowship Church, which has gathered in the open-air Jury Park pavilion during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Clendenen asked the board to reschedule the November meeting from Nov. 2 to Wednesday, Nov. 4, because the Community Center will be used as a polling place on Nov. 3. The board approved.