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Central Park in Mishawaka draws thousands in opening weekend

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After three years and $5 million, Mishawaka officials and hundreds of families are checking out the new Central Park.

The park opened this past weekend and since then, thousands have checked it out. City officials say the park represents more than just a place to play; it's also a new quality of life.

When Diane Fielding brought her grandkids to Central Park she was pleasantly surprised.

"I've always loved the park but this is amazing, just amazing, and it brings so many people together and people are sitting and talking and making new friends," she said.

Central Park has only been open for a few days, and already people are flocking to enjoy everything it has to offer. Diane was at the park Monday for five hours, and she and her grandkids had so much they couldn't stay away.

"When we woke up today, one of the other girls was home and they were just going to work on computers and I said 'No, we're going to go out and find something to do.' So I picked up some lunch and we came out here and I have not seen them for two hours," she said.

The "fun for all ages" environment is exactly what the City of Mishawaka was going for.

"In fact, not only will it draw families it'll be a great attraction for us to improve neighborhoods -- but it's also a place for kids. This park has play amenities and features you won't find anywhere or annoy other park east of the Mississippi," said Mayor Dave Wood.

Mayor Wood says the park shows the effort the city is making to improve the quality of life.

"We have literally had thousands of people in this park and I've had countless amounts of people come up to me and say 'thank you, this is great for our city this is someplace we're really proud of,'" he said.

Diane didn't think that a park she described as "creepy" just a year ago could be place she and her grandkids don't want to leave.

"It's a wonderful area. This is certainly not, it's surprising it's not what we expected," she said.

There's more work coming to Central Park. Mayor Wood says they are thinking about adding zip lines and a concession stand.

The pavilions will be available to rent out, but the city is still working out the renting fees.

Another cool feature about the park is the lights behind me are LED and they can be programmed.

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