Summer fun coming to St. Patrick's County Park

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.--- Crews are getting St. Patrick's County Park ready ahead of Memorial Day Weekend. This summer, kayak and canoe rentals are returning to the park for the first time in four years.

The summertime activity got shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With the pandemic, we weren't able to shuttle people back and forth," said Michael Slattery, leisure services manager for St. Joseph County Parks.

It didn't come back for several years, though, he explained.

"The other issue we had in the past couple years is we were short on staff," Slattery said. "My entire leisure team is new as of last August."

Rentals include kayaks, canoes and paddleboards, costing between $25 and $40 for a vessel.

"We've tried to keep the price pretty close to what it was, because we want to keep it a family option, all the time," Slattery said.

Many families may find it challenging to keep kids entertained all summer, without breaking the bank, but public parks serve as a great option.

"Just beyond the kayaks and the canoe, just the park itself," said Russ Hochstetler, frequent park visitor. "You've got hiking trails around here, you've got a playground, they've got a new little water-park-type build for the kids.

"We've got the bald eagles over on the east side, we've got the osprey nests over on the west side, and plenty to do," Slattery said.

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