Walking and exercise should continue to be the primary focus of the park systems in Auglaize County and the city of Wapakoneta, according to a report released to Wapakoneta City Council members — an emphasis city administrators have placed on existing and future parks.
Heritage Trails Park District Director Allison Brady attended Monday’s Wapakoneta City Council meeting to present findings of a survey conducted last year by the county park district. Her report showed respondents favored walking and hiking as the top activity, followed by bicycling, nature watching and picnicking.
1st Ward Councilor Jim Neumeier said he fully expected those results from the report presented by Brady and he believes Wa-pakoneta has much to offer people in every age group.
“I think Wapak does a good job of diversifying its activities,” 1st Ward Councilor Jim Neumeier told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “A person only needs to take a look at what the city offers from the pool to the skate park, from the baseball and softball diamonds to the basketball courts, from soccer fields to the tennis courts.
“Hopefully one day we will be offering roller hockey and I know Jack (Hayzlett) wants to put in frisbee golf somewhere,” the councilor said of the city recreation director.
Neumeier also said he believes Wapakoneta city administrators are meeting the challenge of developing more walking trails incorporating the parks and nature.
“I think the city is trying to incorporate more walking paths in the city to meet this demand,” 1st Ward Councilor Jim Neumeier said. “The whole idea of the river walk is to incorporate a walking path from one end of the river from Heritage Park to the Wapakoneta WaterPark thus tying in Heritage Park, Belcher Park, Harmon Park and the Wapakoneta WaterPark.”
During her presentation, Brady’s report proved to be in agreement with Neumeier’s assessment.
“Wapakoneta is a great example of paying attention to what your constituents want because you applied and received a Nature Works grant and you improved the walking path at Veterans Memorial Park in the past year,” Brady told councilors.
She also complimented Wapakoneta on working on plans to develop the walking path along the river and seeing the Auglaize River as an asset.
Neumeier agreed with Brady that the report is skewed slightly because the survey reached respondents who were primarily 50 years old and older so city leaders should note that when making plans but they should not discount the survey.
During the meeting Brady voiced satisfaction that respondents represented the entire county with 33 percent coming from St. Marys, 33 percent from Wapakoneta and 33 percent from the rural areas outside the cities. There were 298 respondents who filled out the 10 question survey.
Brady said most respondents survey visited the county’s state park (53 percent), followed by the Miami Erie Canal Towpath (50 percent) then the St. Marys park system (42 percent) and Wapakoneta park system (39 percent).