Valparaiso parks, pathways to get GPS finders
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent September 29, 2013 11:10PM
Updated: November 1, 2013 6:07AM
VALPARAISO — The city’s parks will become safer in a month for those in emergency situations — with 911 GPS finders.
Likewise, the pathways system of hiking and biking trails will have the same program, if not within a month then in spring.
The Parks Department is putting signs in the parks that give a 911 location, such as “Valpo-17,” which people can give to emergency services should they need to call.
For the pathways, the department will put stickers every quarter mile providing a location that people can give to the 911 operators when necessary.
“This will help with guests that aren’t familiar with the area,” recreation coordinator Dan McGuire said.
Each park will have a sign on the shelter or on an existing sign post, but bigger parks like Rogers-Lakewood and Old Fairgrounds will have multiple ones.
The pathways are possibly more confusing for people because they stretch for miles.
“If you’re on the Cumberland loop, how do you describe where you are,” Parks Director John Seibert said.
The 24 signs and the pathway stickers will come to the city within a month, Seibert told the Park Board at Wednesday’s meeting.
The stickers will be flush with the path because the parks department can’t put sign posts in people’s yards along the pathways.
An early snow could delay the pathway installation until spring.
Also at the meeting, local activist Duane Davison and Executive Director Therese Davis of the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County joined Seibert in a presentation on introducing recycling to the parks.
They hope to have a program in place come spring, although that will cost about $83,000 for equipment, including a 4-ton pickup, a permanent hopper for the back of the truck, 312 garbage toters and 312 recycling toters.
The toters would be lifted by machine, allowing one worker to handle all the collection.
The department currently collects trash in more than 200 55-gallon barrels at the parks, using two workers to load the barrels on a dump truck and dump them, then return them to the parks.
Davison said there should also be savings in trash tipping fees with the recycling taken out.
Seibert said it would also cut down on worker back injuries.
Davis said her department will help find grants for the project, and Seibert said the parks will look for funding and partners in the project.