Mishawaka teens help rename Hums Park and add “Ninja Warrior” class

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MISHAWAKA – The city’s newest teen park on the South East Side was designed by teenagers and will serve to honor the accomplishments of several Indigenous sons and daughters.

Heroes’ Park – formerly known as Hums Park – underwent a $ 500,000 renovation.

Mayor Dave Wood opened the park on Sunday, honoring the participation efforts of his Youth Advisory Council, as well as the city residents whose names have been placed on signs throughout the site.

A walk in the park will show the results of the teenagers’ contribution.

A Fitcore extreme obstacle course resembling equipment seen in the “American Ninja Warrior” TV episodes stands out. Nearby, visitors can play cornhole, table tennis, and chess or checkers. They can also bask in a hammock tree or several permanent hammocks placed around the park.

The park even has a ga-ga ball pit, a dodge-ball type game often offered in camps and playgrounds.

Wood said when the youth council won two smaller park improvement competitions, it decided to allow the group to plan, oversee and advise park improvements proposed in the city budget to create a park that teens would use and enjoy.

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He said the initial budget of $ 250,000 for the improvements at Hums resulted in a finished renovation of $ 500,000.

“This is the first park designed by teens for teens,” said Wood. “The children got hold of it.

Seth Becker, a 2021 high school graduate who served for two years on the youth council, said the mayor has said park planning could be the “baby” of teens.

He recalled that the council had looked at parks which seemed intended for young children and which encouraged features such as the obstacle course. “It would test physical ability and the teens would challenge each other,” Becker said. “We thought it would be something fun to do and attract more teenagers.”

Towards the end of the process, he said he was given a map of the park and played a role in deciding where to place the park benches and garbage cans.

Jonathan Waelbroeck, 16, tests his skills on an obstacle course at Heroes Park on Friday in Mishawaka.  The course is just one of the many novelties of the recent renovation of the old Hums Park.

Allison Gordon, another board graduate, said her work with the budget committee has shown her that park equipment doesn’t come cheap.

“I worked with the finance committee,” Gordon said. “It was like an alarm clock. You look at the playground equipment like a swing and you see it costs thousands of dollars.”

When the board decided on the obstacle course, she said she saw pictures and thought it was good, but was impressed to see it in person. “When I saw it it was really awesome,” she said.

At Sunday’s groundbreaking ceremony, those in attendance had a chance to see the various old and new features which were named after local people who have made a major contribution to the city and accomplished great things. , especially :

Anderson Brothers Court

Several minor improvements have been made to the sand volleyball court. The field is named after Steve and Dan Anderson, legendary local high school volleyball coaches.

Steve Anderson is a member of the Indiana High School Volleyball Hall of Fame. He coached at Mishawaka High School from 1979 to 2005 and took a hiatus before returning to coaching in 2016. He won 24 NIC titles, three state championships and was the coach of the four times. year in high school in Indiana.

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His brother, Dan Anderson, retired in 2020 as the Marian High School volleyball head coach after 28 seasons with the Knights. There he compiled a record of 723-244, which included 27 winning seasons. He took the Knights to seven state finals, winning four runner-up state titles.

Violin field

The park’s football field is named after Tony Violi, who coached football for 36 years in Catholic schools in Mishawaka. Violi was vice-president of the St. Monica’s Athletic Association and is currently director of football and president of the Inter-City Catholic League.

Rohrer Trail

A running / walking path that surrounds the soccer field was named after Anna Rohrer, the former star of Mishawaka High School. She is a six-time IHSAA State Champion in Track and Field and Cross Country, and a two-time National Cross Country Champion at Foot Locker High School. At the University of Notre Dame, she won all-America cross-country honors four times, an academic record.

Smitty’s

A new obstacle course is in place at Heroes Park in Mishawaka.

The extreme obstacle course was named after the late Gregg Smith, a 1993 Mishawaka High School graduate who spent 21 years working for the school society, primarily as a science teacher at the school secondary. Smith was a longtime assistant coach of the Mishawaka High School football program. He most recently served as director of football operations for head coach Keith Kinder in 2019. Prior to that, he served as defensive coordinator for former Cavemen head coach Bart Curtis.

Orchard of educators

The Mishawaka Garden Club sponsored the planting of fruit trees in the park. Hums grade five students helped establish the new orchard near the Hums Nature Center.

The enclosure

A new pavilion has been built in the park and is named after members of the Mishawaka Police Department.

Fire station

The new children’s play area at the front of the park has been named the Fire Station in honor of the Mishawaka Fire Department. Fire Station # 4 is located just west of the park.

Wood said several park improvement projects will be completed later this summer. Security lighting is planned for the Rohrer Trail, while plans are underway for a major upgrade to the full-size basketball court on the west side of the park.

The upgrade was scheduled to replace the loss of the entire Central Park basketball court. In addition, a series of pickleball courts are planned for Central Park, where a multipurpose area will be built.

Email South Bend Tribune reporter Greg Swiercz at [email protected]

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