, 2022-07-27 23:00:00,
ALBION — More than a dozen organizations gathered Wednesday a the 2022 Noble County Parks & Recreation Summit to get acquainted, share information and gain inspiration from each other on how to improve recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.
The Noble County Parsk & Recreation Board planned the event, only the second summit ever. The first summit was held in 2019 before the pandemic canceled events in 2020 and 2021.
Current county park board members are president Jeff Boyle, vice president Diann Scott, secretary James Haddock and members Scott Allen, John Metzger, and Jake McDonald.
Summit guests heard updates from the county park board, Albion parks, Chain O’ Lakes State Park, Ligonier Parks, Elkhart Township and Wawaka parks, LaOtto parks, Merry Lea Environmental Center-Goshen College near Wolf Lake, Noble Trails, Fort Wayne Trails, ACRES Land Trust and the Noble County Geographic Information System.
Tourism attractions Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site, Stone’s Trace Historic Site and Pioneer Festival, Ligonier Marshmallow Festival and the Mid-america Windmill Museum also shared updates and successes in collaboration and fundraising along with the Noble County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Jeff Boyle told guests that the county park board began with zero funding from county government, and that remains true to this day. He held up a Ligonier mural guide and said the board would like to publish a similar guide for the county’s parks and recreation.
“At the time the board was formed, there was a lot of push-back about not using taxpayer money,” said longtime county board member Scott Allen. “After covid, there’s a better understanding of the benefits of parks and recreation.”
Diann Scott said the county board’s five-year goal was to increase water-based recreation.
“Progress has been made, along with disc golf, kayaking and trails,” she said.
James Haddock, who also sits on the ACRES Land Trust board, said that ACRES manages 107 properties in 20 counties in Indiana, three or four in Michigan and three or four in Ohio. ACRES has 1,700 members and a battalion of volunteers, but still can’t keep up with all the upkeep needed in every property.
ACRES’ solution is a rotating schedule of temporary closings of properties with less needs so that members and volunteers can work on the…
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