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Parks And Rec Wish List: Wittenberg Woods Development, Appeal To Diversity

Bloomington residents are providing scores of ideas to improve the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts programs. 

Howard Daughenbaugh of Bloomington said during a public input session Thursday that the city needs to invest in multicultural organizations. He said meetings like Thursday's should appeal to diverse residents. 

"Was there any follow-up to find out, perhaps, why they did not show up?" said Daughenbaugh. "If there was some particular format that would be more appealing to those groups?"

The city is looking to add after-school programs for underserved areas on the west side, organizations for the deaf, and sports for the elderly and lower-income residents. 

More than 60 ideas were presented during Thursday's meeting at Miller Park. A similar meeting was held Tuesday at O'Neil Park. The city's Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts department will distribute a survey next month to find out which proposals have the most public approval.

Wittenberg Woods Park is on the list of development ideas citizens want Bloomington to take on. 

Residents of the Luther Oaks Retirement Community on the south side of town are advocating for an outdoor space near their apartments. Executive Director Tim Kmetz said the park would keep visitors and retirees from being couped up inside.

"You have lots of children coming to see them, their grandchildren, great-grandchildren," said Kmetz. "It would be nice to have a fairly modest park there for them to utilize, and really experience some inter-generational time and activity."

Other ideas suggested for the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts master plan include a dog park, concession stands at O'Neil Park, safety amenities, STEM opportunities and additional parking at parks.

There is a third public meeting from 6-8 p.m. August 3 at Miller Park Pavilion, focusing on questions specific to Lincoln Leisure Center and a new recreation facility.

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Baylee Steelman joined us in November 2016. She is a journalism major graduating in May 2018. She mainly covers Bloomington City and Normal Town Council meetings, Unit 5 School Board meetings, produces the weekend News In Review, and helps run GLT events. Baylee also produces and anchors at TV-10, Illinois State University's student TV news station.
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