Renderings of the plans to complete Winona Lake’s Limitless Park are displayed at the Winona Lake Town Council meeting Tuesday at Town Hall. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Renderings of the plans to complete Winona Lake’s Limitless Park are displayed at the Winona Lake Town Council meeting Tuesday at Town Hall. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
WINONA LAKE – The Limitless Park in Winona Lake may be one of the busiest parks in Kosciusko County.

But, as much as children of all ages enjoy it, it’s not finished.

The Winona Lake Parks Department kicked off a fundraising campaign this week to raise the money to complete what was started over seven years ago.

Parks Department Holly Hummitch told the Winona Lake Town Council Tuesday, “So as the Park Board is getting ready to kick off a fundraising campaign for completion of the master plan, we wanted to bring you up to speed.”

Ten years ago, she said, the vision for the Limitless Park was created. The vision of the Park is to “create a place that embraces the beauty of the surrounding environment and engages everyone in limitless play. The master plan utilizes universally accessible equipment and infrastructure that goes beyond minimal ADA guidelines to inclusive recreation for people of all abilities.”

The Splash Pad opened to the public in 2015. In addition to the Splash Pad, fencing, parking, lighting and details also were added. In 2016, the 20-plus-year-old play structure was removed and, through a community build, a new play structure with new surfacing was installed. After a long construction process, Hummitch said, year-round restrooms opened at the Splash Pad in 2019. A year later, shade and additional picnic table seating were added, with one of those picnic tables being handicapped-accessible. Small playground additions have also been installed.

The total investment in improvements to date is approximately $1.2 million, Hummitch said.

“So while these improvements have been made, the vision of the overall master plan is not complete,” she said. “The Park Board plans to complete the final phases of the playground, upgrade the beach and pier and add any final touches that truly make Winona Lake Limitless Park a premier recreation destination.”

The final phases of completion have been broken down, she said. The Park Board is not only looking at various grant opportunities to help complete the Limitless Park, but also in-kind donations to help reduce the overall cost.

“All extra funds raised will go toward a long-term maintenance fund,” Hummitch stated.

The park is a destination for many families, not only locally but also outside Kosciusko County as well, she said.

“The vision of the Park Board is to complete this master plan to better serve all park patrons,” Hummitch said.

Council President Rick Swaim said he was excited about finishing the Limitless Park. “It’ll be great,” he said, asking what the budget would be to complete the park. Hummitch said between $1.2 million to $1.5 million.

Park Board member Kristie Maiers, speaking on the difference in the estimated cost, said, “From a grant standpoint – I also work with parks in the state of Michigan – there’s been an 8.6% increase just between August and right now in materials and labor. So I talked to Holly and (Park Board President) Matt (Goebel) about working really hard to try to get some in-kind donations for a lot of labor. From a DNR standpoint, the park is going to go for a $250,000 grant through the DNR Land Conservancy.”

The maximum grant that can be applied for is $250,000.

She said engineering costs also have gone up, as well as labor. She’s working on a project in Kalamazoo, Mich., and in six weeks the project cost went from $2.6 million to $2.9 million.

Although they estimated high on the cost to complete the Limitless Park, Maiers said she and Goebel both feel that moving forward, once the project is complete, any extra money would go into a maintenance fund.

Winona Town Manager Craig Allebach asked Maiers to talk about the wheelchair ramp that goes into the lake.

As Allebach showed pictures of what the ramp would look like on the big screen in the Council room, Maiers said, “This is an ADA-compliant kayak and canoe dock launch, and – with everything the Park has done over the years to make everything ADA accessible, limitless – this is something we did up in the Grand Rapids area. I talked to Holly about it. ... But this is one of the final pieces to get covered.”

Maiers said since the ramp was opened in June in Grand Rapids, it got a lot of use.

Councilman Austin Reynolds asked Hummitch if she was saying it would take $1.2 million to $1.5 million to finish the Limitless Park. She said yes.

In a news release about the fundraising campaign, Goebel is quoted as saying, “Now is the time to finish what we started as a community. By completing the final phases of the playground, upgrading the beach and pier and adding some final touches, we can make Limitless Park the best park around.”

Hummitch, in the release, points out the importance of public spaces that provide free entertainment for families, especially by offering activities that promote exercise. The park is also an important part of attracting visitors and new residents to the Winona Lake area, helping the local economy to thrive.

To donate online, visit winonalake.net/parks-department; mail donations to Winona Lake Parks Department c/o Winona Lake Limitless Park, PO Box 338, Winona Lake, IN 46590, with checks payable to the Town of Winona Lake c/o Limitless Park.

The Park is at 1590 Park Ave., Winona Lake. For more information, call 574-267-2310 or email winonalakepark@gmail.com.