5-year plan for parks is unveiled

    A recreational vehicle campground along Parkview Drive as part of an expanded Kekionga Park.
    A new park area east of First Street in downtown Decatur, compete with a stage area, playground and a pedestrian bridge across the St. Marys River.
    Limberlost Park near Geneva enhanced with new walking trails and access points to the Wabash River. Greater accessibility for handicapped residents and more and better restroom facilities at all parks countywide.
    Those proposals and more are contained in a five-year master plan that Decatur-Adams County Parks and Recreation department officials plan to send to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for ultimate approval.
    During a meeting held Monday evening in Riverside Center and attended by a dozen local residents, most of them park board members, landscape architect Chris Chockley said the master plan was developed in large part based on comments received in a survey conducted recently by the parks department.
    Chockley, an employee of the Wightman Petrie engineering firm, said survey respondents had listed playground improvements and restroom upgrades at parks in Decatur and throughout the county as among their top priorities. Other important park activities identified by the survey included walking/jogging, picnicking and sports activities.
    The five-year parks master plan, Chockley said, identifies Kekoinga and Hanna-Nuttman parks, and a proposed First Street Promenade, as the priority areas in the city of Decatur.
    Improvements at Hanna-Nuttman would include the development of athletic, campground and passive areas of the park, as well as the creation of additional walking trails. Proposed upgrades at Kekionga Park call for the creation of additional nature trails and a new RV campground on city-owned green space along Parkview Drive that was purchased following massive flooding in 2003.
    The five-year plan also calls for the development of a master plan for a First Street Promenade, which would run along the river from Monroe to Jefferson streets. Park board member Larry Isch said the park would be located within Decatur's newly-established Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district and would be eligible to be funded by tax dollars generated by the district.
    At the county level, Limberlost Park and Linn Grove Park were identified as areas of possible improvements. Chockley said the master plan to be submitted to the DNR includes cost estimates and possible funding sources for the proposed park upgrades.