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Wells OK’d for Lakeside, McMillen parks

– Lakeside and McMillen parks will soon be getting their own water wells.

Parks board members voted unanimously Thursday to approve a $31,079 contract to drill and install 5-inch wells at the two parks to maintain water levels in ponds and provide water for irrigation.

“We anticipate the project will pay for itself in just a few years,” said Steve Schuhmacher, of the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department.

Officials said they spend up to $10,000 a year using city water to maintain the pond level at McMillen Park. The pond water is then used to irrigate the par-3 golf course.

The ponds at Lakeside Park are a focal point of the historic park and need to be kept filled, officials said, especially since they’re in the midst of a $240,000 bank restoration project.

The banks have been planted with aquatic sedge, which keep the Canada geese away. The banks are currently fenced to protect the plants until they’re well established. Officials said the fences will be removed next year.

Bennie Lewis, director of the new McMillen Park Community Center, told board members the facility is off to a great start, with people using it from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. The free lunch program has grown from 60 to 200 in just a few days, and more people are using the center.

“We’re just thrilled to have this all going on in McMillen Park,” Lewis said. “It’s a busy place now.”