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New Haven parks plan sets final public-input meeting

Park officials are seeking public input on how best to improve services and equipment in New Haven’s 17 parks over the next five years.

The New Haven-Adams Township Parks and Recreation Department will present a final draft of its five-year master plan at 7 p.m. Monday in the Town Hall, 815 Lincoln Highway East.

This will be the last chance for public input before the plan is finalized, said Mike Clendenen, superintendent of parks and recreation.

Public input is critical to the planning process as it helps assess the wants and needs of the community, Clendenen said.

During an input meeting in September, Clendenen discussed the goals of the master plan that included preservation, exploring different recreational programs and facilities and possible renovations.

The plan includes installing new restrooms and an outdoor amphitheater at Schnelker Park; building a playground at Moser Park; building a new community center; turning Meadowbrook Pool into a splash pad; and extending the Rivergreenway trail from Moser Park to Tillman Road.

Other suggestions that are not out of the question, although they are not included in the plan, Clendenen said, include seeking public and private partnerships; creating more theater; arts and youth programs; establishing a dog park; and hosting bike, canoe and horse rentals.

Ten of the 17 parks contain more than 10 acres, and all of the town’s park property includes just more than 338 acres.

The parks are Canal Landing, Havenhurst, Heatherwood, Jury Memorial, Klotz, Koehlinger-Yoder, Meadowbrook, Moser, New Haven, Schnelker, Sunnymede, Werling, Rivergreenway, North River Road and Tom Deetz nature areas, the park office property and Haskamp property, which includes 80 undeveloped acres.

New Haven is collaborating with the Fort Wayne and Allen County parks departments as all three entities project their plans through 2017.

“It makes sense to work together,” Clendenen said.

“Although the plans are related to local demographics, a lot of the basics are the same for all three park systems,” he said.

The plan is instrumental in helping the department acquire grants and other funding, he said.

A hard copy of the plan will be available at the town hall and at the parks department office, 1125 Hartzell St., and an electronic version will be available at www.newhavenparksandrec.org.

The final draft is due to the state by April 15.

vsade@jg.net

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