The Indiana Park and Recreation Association had the amazing opportunity to hear about the City of La Porte Park and Recreation from its Superintendent, Mark Schreiber. Please read below to learn more about Mark and La Porte Parks!
What is your favorite memory at your park agency?
The memory standing out the most, both as a favorite and a challenging time, was the renovation of Fort La Play Porte, our community-built playground. It was originally constructed in 1999 and we opted to renovate the structure using the community-built model again in 2019. The planning and fundraising went exceptionally well. The only problem was the weather. It rained five of the six build days and when the consultant and the volunteers were gone, we had a playground only halfway completed. With a lot of hard work by our staff and a handful of dedicated volunteers, we were able to open the playground five weeks later to rave reviews. I was never prouder or more relieved in my life.
How does your agency contribute to the community?
We always try to rise to any challenge. We have been working with the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte to create a healthier community, through infrastructure improvements such as multiuse trails and programs aimed at at-risk residents. We recently assumed operations of our community's senior center and, without a budget or plan, have been able to grow membership and the number of activities.
What special events is your park agency known for?
We have become known for our Foodie Tuesdays, a food truck for lunch every Tuesday from Memorial Day through Labor Day at the beautiful lakeside Unity Park. Residents enjoy our Night Bike Rides, three starlit rides across town over the summer months. We just held our second very successful LakeFest, a three-day festival of music, art, food and fun for the whole family celebrating our lakes and parks. It includes concerts, family and kid activities, participatory events such as sand volleyball and kayaking and, of course, fireworks.
What do you see for the future of your park agency? What are your goals?
We will continue to improve the quality of life for our residents, all of our residents. We will strive to create better access to our parks, amenities and programs. Adding more miles of trails to our rapidly-growing system will continue to be a high priority. We will find more ways to deliver programs to promote a healthy and well community. La Porte will become the place to be to work, live and play.
Why do you choose to be a member of the Indiana Park and Recreation Association? How long have you been a member?
Our department has held membership with IPRA for decades and I personally preach its importance to our staff. In my 10 years with the department, I have found IPRA invaluable as a source of inspiration and guidance. This was no more true than during the early months of the pandemic and the following period of adjustment to our new realities. And I have never walked away from an annual conference without feeling renewed and excited about the important work we do for our community.
How has your experience with IPRA benefited your park agency? What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your membership?
Bringing back new ideas and solutions to problems makes our department better equipped to take on the challenges of providing the best quality of life for our residents. Building working relationships and friendships with fellow park professionals has been rewarding and made me a better leader. I recommend IPRA membership, and really membership in any professional organization, to anyone wanting make a difference and the most of their careers.
Additional Information from La Porte Parks!
We have an amazing staff with years of experience, as well as the support of our Administration, City Council and Park Board. We have 20 full-time employees. Our department includes 16 parks, our trail system, an 18-hole golf course, a senior center and the Civic Auditorium, a 3,000-seat venue. If you are ever in the area, stop in and check out our parks!