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Community invited to open discussion on Leeper Park duck pond

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-A beloved and historic piece of South Bend could be removed. The city is in talks to take out the duck pond at Leeper Park. But tonight, community leaders are inviting the public to an open discussion before they continue to move forward.

ABC 57 News first told you about the city potentially planning to remove the pond in May.

South Bend’s Venues Park and Arts have been making plans to revitalize several areas along the city’s riverfront and have prioritized bringing the community into the conversation.

We talked to neighbors who believe it is a great staple of the park where parents can take their kids to. But others believe that the animals leave a mess throughout the park

“I think my biggest question is what else has been explored?,” said Kathy Schuth, Executive Director of Near Northwest Neighborhood Inc.

“Of course there is a wide range of opportunities from retention to removal and I’ll be very curious to discuss in the meeting you know what else can be considered if anything,” Schuth said.

The city is still in the very early stages of the proposal and won’t be making any final decisions for at least a year.

If officials plan to move forward with the removal, permission would need to be granted by the Historic Preservation Commission since it’s been in place for more than 100 years.

Wednesday night’s forum, hosted by the Near Northwest Neighborhood Inc. and South Bend Venues, Parks and Arts, will be a panel format. The department will make a small presentation to discuss the process to date and the future. Then, an open discussion will follow.

“I hope that what happens is a true conversation could be started and so that residents have an understanding of what the process is going to be,” Schuth said. “I think it will be part of our role to make sure that that continues and so advertising future meetings and also learning from the parks department what’s appropriate and when can we give direct input,” Schuth said.

The discussion will be held at the Near Northwest Neighborhood Inc. building, 1007 Portage Avenue in South Bend from 6-8 P.M.

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