For a number of years, a sign sat at the corner of the Prairie Pointe housing development in Elkhart, promising a new park for the growing community. However, it wasn’t until about six months ago that action was taken on the sign’s promise.
When the development was first established, a 1.36 acre section of land on the northeast corner was set aside to be turned into a park. The park would offer a place to play for the many children residing in the development, eliminating the need to cross a highway to get to the town’s existing park.
After looking at the sign for several years and not seeing anything done on the property, Elkhart resident Brian Shipley decided to approach the city about it. The city purchased the land, and the parks and recreation committee, consisting of Shipley, Doug Jones, Erik Schmidt and Tom Ausman, took over responsibility for the park.
Currently the committee is in the planning and fundraising stage of the project. Plans for the land include playground equipment, a restroom, basketball court and a walking path that surrounds an open green space where games such as flag football could be played, Shipley said. Three pavilions would be spaced along the walking path.
Fundraising efforts are currently underway for the park, which is expected to cost $100,000-$200,000. Proceeds from the Elkhart Community Betterment Committee’s annual chili supper last Saturday, Nov. 9, went to the park. The committee also has applied for a Prairie Meadows Community Betterment grant, which could cover up to $100,000.
Shipley said the timeline for the completion of the park depends on how much money they are able to raise and how fast they are able to raise it.
"Within in a year, we hope to have as much built as possible," Shipley said.
Those interested in donating toward Prairie Pointe Park should contact Elkhart City Clerk Jeanne Uhl by calling 515-367-4735 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.