THE WRITING ON THE WALL: Brainstorming session produces fresh ideas for S. Whitley

SOUTH WHITLEY — Markers were handed out and people were encouraged to write on the walls of the meeting room in South Whitley Tuesday, located next to the Town Hall. The South Whitley Plan Com-mission held a brainstorming session for residents to write down suggestions on ways the town could improve.Anna Simmons, plan commission president, said, “We did this at our last meeting and we got some great ideas. I hope to have more meetings in the future to determine the priority of each suggestion in the different categories.”Large sheets were displayed on the wall with specific categories opened for suggestions. Parking and housing, arts and culture, economic development and new business were just some of the categories.Steve Clason serves as the school representative for the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation board and was present at the meeting.Clason brought his nine-year-old grandson, Jacob Bergner, to participate. Bergner attends Pierceton Elementary School and came with his grandfather, but said he was “having fun talking about all the things that could happen in South Whitley.”Bergner had some of his own ideas. “I think it would be neat to have a museum,” said Bergner. “I went to a museum in Grand Rapids and I really liked it. That would be good here. Especially if it was a museum where you could do stuff and play with things.”Some of the new suggestions offered at the Tuesday meeting included hanging street banners across Main Street, holding an art fair that would showcase students’ work, building a river greenway along Eel River and holding a Christmas parade.“This is very positive. The response has been great,” Simmons said. “I know it will take time to institute these ideas. It won’t happen overnight, but it is very realistic that these ideas will come to fruition.”According Simmons, one of the hurdles keeping the downtown area from blossoming is the price tag on some of the buildings.“If these owners would be more realistic about what they are asking for these places, I think we would see more movement,” Simmons said. “What good is it doing them to get nothing. If they could offer less, at least they would get something and someone could make use of the space.”In the area of recreation, ideas offered included a dog park, walking club and a BMX track. For a more in depth look at this story, see the Nov. 22 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.