night’s Porter County Parks and Recreation Board meeting was a memorable
one for Parks Superintendent Walter Lenckos, with turning points for a new
south county park and the Raise-the-Barn activity center.
board voted 4-0 to allow Lenckos to make an offer to purchase a 55-acre
piece of land southeast of the County Road 550 South and Ind. 49
intersection in Morgan Township for the price of $407,000.
property is flat agricultural land now, but, if the deal is made, the
parks department will progress with developing a new park which, according
to preliminary discussions, will include fields for baseball/softball and
soccer and trails for walking/jogging. No permanent decisions have been
made yet. It is close to the site of what was the historic Tassinong Grove
trading post, one of the oldest settlements in northern Indiana.
two members absent Thursday were Craig Kenworthy and Ruth Jarnecke, both
of whom reside in the southern half of the county.
the meantime, a major piece of the funding puzzle for the Raise-the-Barn
may be solved too. Lenckos said both the County Commissioners and the
County Council have indicated to him they support spending $1.5 million of
interest money from the sale of Porter Memorial Hospital toward the
activity center at Sunset Hill Farm County Park.
park board voted 4-0 for Lenckos to request the funding from both the
Commissioners and the Council. Majority votes are required from both
boards to spend the hospital interest money.
are starting to all come together,” Lenckos said.
attorney David Hollenbeck said the $407,000 offered to purchase the south
county park land is significantly less than what the department was
willing to spend on the parcel -- $600,000. It was even less than the
average of the two appraisals done, one which valued the land at $440,000
and the other at $426,250, which is what Indiana law prescribes the
purchase should be.
property owner’s identity is the Dorothy L. Anderson trust, Hollenbeck
member Rebecca Tomerlin said the Land Acquisition and Development
Committee recommended the purchase at its meeting two weeks ago.
all agreed this is an excellent property,” Tomerlin said.
he would be unable to attend the meeting, County Councilman Jim Polarek,
R-4th, phoned the Tribune earlier Thursday to say he would like to
thank the Anderson family for allowing their property to be purchased by
the parks department.
going to help the kids,” Polarek said.
also lauded the efforts of former County Commissioner Carole Knoblock and
her successor County Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South.
had announced at this week’s county commissioner meeting that the deal
was moving forward now that the parks department had in its budget CEDIT
money earmarked for land acquisitions.
park is long overdue. It will give the south county residents a place to
gather with friends and family for fitness and fun,” Blaney had said.
parks supporters Charlotte and Herb Read told the board they would like to
see the county parks department continue searching for areas that could be
acquired and developed for passive recreation.
Read asked that a master plan be developed for the new south county park
with various alternatives for the public to give input on.
member David Canright said the board will not ask for input yet since the
land purchase is still under negotiation.
the Barn plans updated
members got to view a new draft of what the inside of the Raise-the-Barn
will look like from Vavrek Architects. The plans now show about 1,400 sq.
ft. to be added for the inclusion of the County’s Recycling and Waste
Reduction District offices.
additional space will not greatly alter the roughly $3 million price tag
as it will mainly consist of only a few walls, floor and a roof extension.
updated building cost estimate is expected within the next month, Lenckos
officials have wanted to move the offices along with the County Extension
office to Sunset Hill Farm to free up needed space in the county
administration building. The Extension office has not been included in the
new Raise-the-Barn center plans as it recently has begun negotiations to
relocate to the county fairgrounds, Extension educator and park board
member Annetta Jones said.
will request $1.5 million in hospital sale funds from the Commissioners at
their April 16 meeting. The request will then go to the County Council for
FUNset sign ups April 13
signed up while there is still a chance, Lenckos said about the spots open
for Camp FUNset this summer. Open registration will be Saturday, April 13
from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Sunset Hill Farm.
camp is open to children entering grades 1-7. The dates for the camps run
from June 10 to Aug. 2.
Lenckos introduced Charmayne Guch who will be the department’s new
part-time marketing and events coordinator. She will also assist in the
office, taking over for Shirley Massey who resigned this past month.
Massey will still lead her painting classes offered by the department.
Union Twp. resident Bill Pauley and Parks Planner Ray Joseph have begun to
put up signs around the trails of Sunset Hill Farm with GPS capabilities.
If someone has an emergency in the park and dials 911, they can better
give dispatchers their location by referring to where they are in
proximity to the signs. Pauley said he is talking with local
municipalities about putting up more signs and will present a PowerPoint
at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, at the Porter County Administration
A new septic system will be installed at the house in Brookdale Park. The
board voted 4-0 to accept a bid of $8,820 from Gift Septic Service of
Lenckos said there will be a volunteer clean-up effort led by the Kiwanis
Club at Brincka-Cross Gardens. The work will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday,
April 13 and more volunteers are welcome.
The annual Spring Out to Sunset event will be on May 18 at 10 a.m.,
Lenckos said. Admission is $5 per car.