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Parks and Recreation System Master Plan Adopted by Marshall County Township

Eppley Institute, alongside their partners at the Center for Rural Engagement (CRE), recently completed and presented the Marshall Township Parks and Recreation System Master Plan. The plan focused on the former Avoca Fish Hatchery, which was transferred from the IDNR in November 2020 for the creation of a park. Marshall Township has approximately 4,500 residents. This is the community’s first park and first system master plan.

Steve Wolter, Director of Eppley Institute, emphasizes the importance of such a project, “the value of a park, park board, and parks and recreation system master plan for any agency, especially a small agency, supports a sense of place, a sense of community, and a high quality of life.  It is the one local government service that is completely voluntary and not mandated by Indiana state requirements. Local agencies and communities decide that parks and recreation are a service they want and will pay for.”

Layne Elliott, the Eppley Project Manager of the system master plan, presented to a crowd of 25, composed of the Marshall Township Park board and public. Those in attendance showed enthusiasm for the suggested improvements, which include restoration of the historic Hamer House, built in 1823, refurbishing fish hatchery ponds, and creating new greenspace. The system master plan will help Marshall Township Park Board meet its vision by implementing an organized operations plan, periodic and scheduled maintenance, and providing a strategic guideline for future site stewardship. Without a set of standards outlined, improvements may not be completed in a timely manner, impacting visitor experience, and leading to more repairs that will require additional funding.

The system master plan work started in September 2021 and was just completed in April 2022. After the presentation, the plan was adopted by the park board. It now awaits approval from the Indiana DNR. In order to become eligible to receive state grant funding, Indiana parks and recreation offices must submit a system master plan.

The parks and recreation system master plan process incudes site visits, data collection at the park(s), public engagement usually done through surveys and meetings, and an analysis of the findings. Eppley Institute is a national leader in parks master planning and our project managers can help you plan and guide your park operations for the next five years or more.

If your community is interested in learning about our parks and recreation system master planning services, please reach out at eppley@indiana.edu.

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