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New county park coming to area near Middlebury

WSBT 22

Good news for residents near Middlebury, 92-acres of land nearby is set to become a new county park.

A good deal of it right now is cornfield. About a mile stretch of the Elkhart river runs through it.

The land was donated by Tom Corson, Founder of Coachmen Industries.

Part of it was originally being considered for housing development for the Winding River Subdivision, with a local developer, but there wasn't as much land available as first thought.

“I asked Mr. Corson if rather than try to do this in that area if he wouldn't be willing to dedicate the areas we couldn't build in as a park for Elkhart County,” said Developer, John Letherman.

Corson and his family decided the land will go to the County Park Department.

The Elkhart County Park Department said it was thrilled when it first learned about this property, adding that it provides the potential for a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities in this part of the county.

“There is some farm field that will be restored into prairie habitat, eventually we will put in trails and allow walkers and hikers to utilize the trail system at this park and have access to the river as well,” said Rhonda Decaire with the County Parks Department.

The Elkhart River will be a draw in several ways.

“This will be a great piece of property for trout for fisherman in our community to use, as well as kayakers and canoeist,” said Decaire.

The title work to transfer the property to the county should be completed before the end of this year.

The county is starting work on a site plan for the park. The opening of it will depend on how quick they get funding to transform the site.

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