Valpo Parks announces huge plans for the city’s parks
On February 23, community members of Valparaiso, the Valparaiso Parks Department, and city officials gathered in Valparaiso City Hall to share their plan to enhance parks all across the city. Valpo Parks conducted over 30 focus groups with over 200 participants and sent out surveys with over 2000 responses from residents of Valparaiso in order to see what people wanted most from the city’s parks. After going through all of the data, Valpo Parks came up with the Valpo For All Generations initiative.
Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy kicked off the presentation by explaining why a project like this is necessary for the city.
“Parks are a huge part of what makes Valparaiso special,” said Murphy. “Parks define us, gather us together, encourage wellness, promote family engagement, and celebrate the outdoor environment. A strong parks network demonstrates our shared priorities for people and places.”
Valpo For All Generations is made up of four central pillars: Legacy Parks, an Adult Center for Enrichment (ACE), Valparaiso Next Generation Skate Park, and a Community Sports and Recreation Complex.
Valpo Parks wants this initiative to not only serve the youth of the community, but everyone who resides in or visits Valparaiso.
“Valpo For All Generations truly serves many generations,” said John Seibert, Executive Director of Valpo Parks. “It honors those who came before us, and it looks ahead to serve future generations, giving them a reason to remain and share opportunities to plan together.”
To help make this lengthy wish list a reality, Murphy announced that the city recently acquired 248 acres of land.
“This will literally put the sports facility of our dreams on the map,” said Mayor Murphy. “It will be located on the city’s east side, just east of U.S. Route 49, and stretching from Vale Park Road on the south to 500 North.”
The first pillar of the initiative focuses on the continued investments in current parks around the city; Seibert explained this further.
“We have developed master plans for 17 parks, and we’ll continue to review these plans with neighborhoods and the community to make them effective,” explained Seibert. “Our current priority parks are Kirchoff, Lakewood, and Ogden Gardens for the most expensive upgrades.”
The second part of Valpo For All Generations is an Adult Center for Enrichment (ACE). The goal is to build a center dedicated to enriching the lives of adults through activities, education, and a connection to community resources. Before making the announcement today about ACE, Valpo Parks has already received an anonymous donation of $100,000 for the new center.
“I think that lifelong learning is crucial,“ said Kaye Frataccia, Event Chair for Valpo Parks. “It’s ongoing, it’s interaction. It’s crucial to stay relevant and engage in our community. It’s not about growing old, it’s about staying young. I’m excited about this new center for the opportunities to continue challenging ourselves.”
The next pillar presented was Valparaiso Next Generation Skate Park. The park was designed by Valparaiso native and renowned skate park designer Dug Ketterman. Valpo Parks hopes that this new facility will not only serve the locals, but will also be a draw for the rest of the Region. The project has a fundraising goal of $1 million and has raised $250,000 so far.
“We’re looking forward to having a covered place to skate on rainy days, beginner and expert areas, accessible lanes for adaptive athletes, and lighting, all in a very prime location near the new Boys and Girls Clubs location on Evans” said the owner of RE/MAX Lifestyles and member of the Valpo Foundation Parks board, Matt Evans.
Finally, the last pillar for a Community Sports and Recreation Complex was discussed. This new complex has been high on the community wish list for a long time. This facility will be home to new multi-purpose sports fields, indoor facilities, walking trails, playgrounds, shelters, and concessions in nature areas.
“I’m a champion for the community sports and recreation complex because this project will make a tremendous difference in the lives of young people and families in and around Valparaiso for many generations to come,” said Don Clark, Valparaiso Park Board member. “A facility like this enables Valparaiso to touch even more lives and to do so with even more excellence. This new park gives us a place to play close to home, and it showcases our community in such a positive way.”
To learn more about bout everything announced and discussed today, head over to the Valpo Parks website at https://www.valpoparks.org/630/Valpo-For-All-Generations.