Ribbon cutting event held at newly renovated Leeper Park

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Leeper Park in South Bend officially opened up to the public on Monday after a year of planning and construction, and a ribbon cutting event was held to celebrate the occasion.

Students at the Madison Steam Academy, which is located next to Leeper Park, got to leave class and check out and experience the changes. Residents in the local neighborhoods as well got to see Leepers Park's makeover.

Casey Ditty, a South Bend mother who lives near Leeper Park, says that she is excited to see it open again.

“We’re so excited,” Ditty said. “We were really sad when the other park was taken down and it’s been fun to watch the progress of this park. We walk by pretty much every day and we’ve gotten to talk with the people building it and the boys have been anxiously awaiting its opening.”

The renovations were funded by public and private organizations, including Beacon Health Systems, the Madison School Steam Academy, and a $250,000 contribution by Sinclair Recreation’s GameTime.

Rocki Stillson, a representative for Sinclair Recreation, said that the ultimate goal is to “make this a lasting investment, something that would benefit everybody here. [The city] didn’t just choose areas that had nice areas and play grounds but they chose to put playgrounds all over the city in underserved areas and in areas that really needed the help.”

The park was built to be compatible for all children. It features swing sets, musical bells, and a play mat area.

The city will also turn on the historical Studebaker Fountain at an evening event scheduled for 7-8 p.m., which will also feature live music.

The renovation project is part of an effort to enhance accessibility, improve pedestrian safety, acknowledge the park’s historical importance, and modernize aging features.

For more information on the City of South Bend Venues Parks & Arts, visit their website.

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