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By kids for kids: Mary Gibbard Park will have many new additions next year

By kids for kids: Mary Gibbard Park will have many new additions next year // WSBT 22 Photo

Mary Gibbard Park hasn't seen renovations in decades, but next year it will get a million-dollar face lift.

This project has been in the works for some time.

The mayor says they've been looking at upgrading this park for at least five years. He says the changes will be unlike any other park in the city.

As the temperatures continue to drop with the fall leaves, local parks are becoming barren.

Before they become a distant memory, the city of Mishawaka is unveiling a new plan for people to get excited about.

"You're going to see a lot of new things that you haven't seen in any of our parks,” said Phil Blasko, parks superintendent. “You're going to see a new bike park there, new soccer fields, walking track, new basketball courts."

The list goes on and on.

At the top of the bill are things like an inclusive playground created for children of all abilities and a splash pad.

"The new splash pad we have is themed towards the LaSalle Lions, so they'll have lion's heads that will shoot water out. The kids what they wanted out of their splash pad is the biggest bucket possible so that's what we did, we got them a huge bucket that's going to splash on the kids,” Blasko said.

City officials say the project was designed by kids for kids.

"It's the right thing to do, when you're building a park. Who am I to say what the kids want to have in their park. So they basically turn into our consultants,” said Blasko.

The million dollar improvements will begin as early as next month. Although it's a large price tag, the mayor says it's already funded.

"We have a couple different funding sources that will make this possible. Those funds are secure, in place. We're essentially paying cash for it, we're not going into debt to do any of our park work,” said Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood.

Although it hasn't seen ground break yet, city officials say they're excited to get started.

"Everybody loves the fact that we're all working together for a great cause and really the cause is for the kids, in the end it's going to help the kids,” Blasko said.

Now this isn't the only park the city plans on tackling.

Mayor Wood told me the goal is to make every park in Mishawaka unique.

Mary Gibbard Park will also be able to hold practices for things like football, lacrosse and soccer.

The city will seek bids next month in hopes to have the project completed by next year.

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