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Official: Park Shouldn’t Be County Priority

July 26, 2007 by   - () Leave a Comment

Grant County, Ind., needs to update its master development plan before it works on a proposed county park, Grant County Area Planning Commission Director Ken Ellis said on Tuesday (July 24), according to the Marion (Ind.) Chronicle Tribune.
Ellis was one of the dozens of people, the majority of whom were local campground owners, who came to Tuesday’s commissioners meeting to voice their concerns about the proposed park.
“We need a vision, not just in parks and recreation, but overall. There hasn’t been a discussion of vision in many years,” Ellis said. “It’s time.”
The controversy surrounding the meeting arose because the commissioners are considering developing a county park north of Gas City, which could potentially include, among other things, a campground.
Ryan Richards, owner of Sports Lake Campground near Gas City, said he is bothered by the idea that the county would even consider competing with local campgrounds.
“I know it’s a proposal on a proposal for a possible (park), but the possibility that we might entertain the idea to compete against local dollars would not be a positive for a business or corporation looking at this community,” he said.
Commissioners President Mark Bardsley said he wanted to clarify that the county wants area businesses to succeed.
“We are not looking to develop any type of challenge to current businesses that are in the camping fields,” Bardsley said. “Camping, according to the study, is only a potential possibility in the concept of the master plan.”
Commissioner David Glickfield said he does not think the proposed park would include a campground.
“In my mind I would say there’s a 99% chance there will not be a campground there,” he said.
“It’s the 1% that I’m worried about,” Richards responded.
Ellis said the need for an updated plan was evidenced by the public’s confusion about the possible uses of the park. He said further communication among the commissioners, the Grant County Council and the Planning Commission is needed to begin revising the county’s parks and recreation plan.
“If it’s a priority for you, then it becomes a priority for us,” Ellis told the commissioners.

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