Chesterton Tribune



Board hears report on planned Sunset Hill Education Center

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The Porter County Park Board is moving ahead with the proposed education center at Sunset Hill Farm Park.

Porter County Parks Board member Drew Armstrong said at Thursday’s meeting that plans have been adjusted to improve the indoor handicapped bathroom and tweak the location of the public exterior restrooms. Armstrong also thanked the County Council on their work so far in the consideration of the project.

Parks Board member Craig Kenworthy said his idea for a “two stage cooling” system in the building would make it more economical and energy efficient.

There’s still upwards of $100,000 to be raised for the project before it becomes a reality.

Porter County Parks Foundation President Brian Waisenan reiterated the foundation’s positive outlook on the project, and expressed confidence that the remaining funds needed can be reaised for the silo like building. Waisenan thanked the board for their hard work on the education center.

Parks Budget Advances

The County Council has tentatively approved the Porter County Parks budget for 2018 without taking action on the deapartment’s capital requests. The general fund budget remains the same from the previous year at $3.8 million.

Armstrong thanked the County Council for their patience and understanding during the budget hearing, as well as their continued support.

Parks Superintendent Walter Lenckos said that the council has asked the board to coordinate with the County Commissioners on the department’s capital requests.

Sunset Hill Trail Requests

Lenckos updated the board on Sunset Hill Park’s new trail markers and interpretive signs. Park staff are currently getting pricing for the markers, and stickers for the markers, along with interpretive signage. Grants for the markers are included in the parks current funding, and the updates are on track to be done before winter.

Parks Board President Rich Hudson asked for an update on Sunset Hill’s “bush piles” in the park’s prairie. Lenckos explained that the piles are helpful to the creatures that live within the park and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has requested that they remain in place.

NIHPA Fall Harvest Festival

Lenckos thanked the public for continued support of the Northwest Indiana Historical Power Association’s Fall Harvest Festival.

The weekend event, which celebrated its 41st year, was held in September at Sunset Hill Farm. Despite the ninety degree heat, a good crowd of attendees and around 400 fourth graders visited over the weekend.

Lenckos also thanked the NIHPA for the smooth transition and easy clean up of the park immediately after the event.

NIHPA member Jack Kashak told the board about their success - despite the weather. “All in all I think everything ran well, and the fourth graders enjoyed themselves immensely,” Kashak said. “We got the tractors and the equipment out at the end of the show about the quickest I’ve ever seen.”

Other Business

-- Lenckos encouraged the public to visit Sunset Hill Farm this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for the annual Celebration of Wildlife event, which features various wildlife groups and is organized by the Wildlife Management Board.

Lenckos also mentioned that the inaugural Indiana Dunes Outdoor Adventure Festival this coming weekend will feature around 100 family friendly activities across the Duneland area.

-- The Kouts Lions Club met with Lenckos recently on the proposed Aukiki park. The Lions are “very excited” for the park and will help in any way they can with the park when it's developed, Lenckos reported.

-- Talks have begun with a Porter County citizen on donation to the deparment of 6 acres in Union Township. The parcel may have a role in county drainage plans, Lenckos said.


Posted 10/6/2017





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