New color-changing bridge lighting to highlight re-opening of Central Park in Mishawaka


By: Jon Zimney

The City of Mishawaka will re-open the renovated Central Park to the public. The grand re-opening is happening at 9:15 p.m. on Friday, July 3. The time of dusk was chosen so city leaders show off the new lighting, which includes color-changing L.E.D. lights on the pedestrian bridge by the dam.

A ribbon cutting will take place in the middle of the park just west of the large rope climbing structure.

In working with my staff and the park board, the goal of the park was to create a city-wide destination family park.

The park has been closed for the $5 million renovation project since September of 2014.

The following is a list of some of the key elements of the park sent to 95.3 MNC from the City of Mishawaka:

  • For older kids, a 28 foot tall rope climbing tower has been installed. For the moment, this will be the tallest “play” climber in the United States east of the Mississippi.
  • For younger kids, a concrete storm pipe was installed set into a mound to provide a realistic tunnel crawl experience without the dangers associated with actual storm pipes.
  • A variety of standard play equipment were installed including swings, slides, and climbers that overall could accommodate hundreds of kids at a time.
  • A programmable fountain is intended to provide relief from the heat in summer.
  • Five rentable pavilions have been installed. Four smaller shelters that will accommodate a typical birthday or family picnic at 24-30 persons. Each of these shelters has been named after a former large Mishawaka manufacturer as homage to the history of the site as a former company ball field and picnic area. The larger pavilion can accommodate 70 and includes a distinctive masonry fireplace.
  • A new restroom building. Rather than creating large rooms with multiple stalls, the building contains 5 family sized restrooms for occupancy by one individual or family at a time. The building is situated between the main play area of the park and the Riverwalk to serve both functions.
  • An open event lawn surrounded by a multipurpose walk has been created on the west end of the park. This replaced the former softball field and will be an ideal place to fly a kite, watch fireworks, or even sled in the winter.
  • The existing tennis courts will be redone to provide one fenced tennis court and one fenced full court basketball court. This work is on-going and will be completed in late July.