Council approves parks board

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Fishers residents could be seeing improvements to parks and recreation facilities funded by a new foundation at no cost to taxpayers by next year.

The town council approved an action at its May 21 meeting for the Parks Advisory Committee to create a board of directors for a Parks Foundation.

“If we are successful in grant opportunities through this foundation, you’ll see new amenities in our parks,” said Town Manager Scott Fadness.

Parks and Recreation Director Barry Russell said at the town council meeting the PAC would serve as the first board members.

As a not-for-profit entity, the foundation has the ability, once operational, to apply for grants for specific functions and take advantage of tax exemptions.

Creating a foundation also gives Fishers residents the opportunity to donate funds to a group that is not a traditional government body.

Russell said many people have an aversion to donating money to governmental bodies.

While the PAC was given the go ahead to form a board, the foundation is far from collecting money.

Fadness said the new organization won’t be operational for another six to 12 months. The foundation must comply with the same rules and follow the same foundation process set by the IRS that other 501(c) 3 organizations follow.

Fadness said the town’s legal staff has a few kinks to work out.

The town council approved a concept of a foundation, but councilors were concerned about who would have the ability to dissolve it if things go awry.

“It was a very legitimate question,” Fadness said. “Any time you set up a committee you want to make sure there’s some oversight and accountability.”

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