GOSHEN — The transformation of Fidler Pond into a city park is under way and on schedule, and the Goshen Parks Department hopes to open the area later this summer.
Bids were opened at the Monday, May 20, meeting of the Board of Public Works for a driveway entrance and parking lot on the grounds to offer accessibility to what will become the city’s newest park.
The entrance to the park is partly to help soothe concerns of residents who feared an increase in the use of their neighborhood to access the park.
Goshen finalized the purchase of the approximately 100-acre space in January after some delay that required several extensions of the deadline to raise the funds necessary to acquire it.
Much of the other preparation work is already finished or on the way, according to Park Superintendent Sheri Howland.
Howland said preliminary clean-up has begun at the site, including the demolition of several dilapidated buildings and the removal of some trees that posed a safety threat to park visitors.
Aggregate Industries, which owned the site, has also begun to remove debris and equipment from the west end of the pond.
Aside from the construction of the entrance and parking lot, the parks department, in conjunction with the engineering department, hopes to begin work on the trail in the second or third week of June.
Park Board Vice President Jim Wellington said that once the park is open to the public, it will offer a 1.5-mile trail around Fidler Pond and the opportunity for boating. The conservation easement worked out with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources would also allow park patrons to fish the waters, Howland added.
Howland said that fishing at the pond would come with several stipulations in order to protect the area.
The park board voted unanimously at their April meeting to allow only catch-and-release fishing and bank fishing that could be restricted to specific areas.
The board made those decisions, Howland said, to prevent the pond from being rapidly fished-out.
As far as boating on Fidler Pond, Wellington noted that no motorized boats will be permitted. He added that sailboats, canoes and other non-motorized watercraft will be acceptable. No boat launch is expected to be built, Wellington said, because “the topography provides a natural launch right down to the water.”
Howland said the parks department is aiming for a July 1 opening date, assuming everything continues to fall into place at the current rate.