FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It’s only been open two months, but leaders with the McMillen Park Community Center already have plans for expansion. Tuesday night, the city’s parks got city council approval to construct a $225,000 indoor playground at the recently opened facility.
According to Steve McDaniel, a deputy director for Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation, his office is required to get council approval for any project that is estimated to cost more than $100,000. However, the total cost will not come from the parks’ budget.
McDaniel said 65 percent of the funds have already been raised through grants and donations, and more grants are pending that could increase that number. Right now, the parks department would spend approximately $79,000 on the work if no other donations or grants come in.
“It’s an indoor playground, so the kids will be able to play all winter long inside,” McDaniel said. “That’s a great thing for the community.”
The playground will be about 50 feet by 50 feet, which allows between 150 to 200 children to use it at once.
“It’s a great thing to provide,” McDaniel said. “We have playgrounds outside but a lot of times we don’t see a lot of activities in the middle of winter. With this, we’ll be able to tie it in with all the other activities that we have going on in our facility. It will go with basketball, soccer, and just activities in general. It keeps kids active.”
Parts to the playground are expected to be at the community center sometime by October. It will take a week to assemble, and is expected to be open sometime in November.
McDaniel said the community center has been a big hit since it opened. The facility is averaging between 300 and 400 children each day.
Besides sports, McMillen Park Community Center has also a summer reading program, with plans to expand on it to include tutoring and other educational programs once the upcoming school year begins.
Council unanimously approved the project Tuesday night.