Chesterton Tribune



Guest Commentary: County Animal shelter in Sunset Hill Park a very bad idea

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Guest Commentary

I am writing to protest the suggestion that the Porter County Animal Shelter be placed in the northwest corner of Sunset Hill Farm Park at the corner of Rt. 6 and Meridian (Campbell) Rd. My reasons are as follows:

A Disastrous Location: The proposed corner is congested and has been the site of numerous deaths. The two west corners are destined to be developed soon, probably by large drug store chains. The northeast corner will be a busy gas station/convenience store. Adding animal shelter entrances/exits into that intersection would make it all the more deadly. The park corner currently also provides an important site for the park to advertise its upcoming events.

Other Locations Available: The County owns land at IN 149 and IN 130. Hospital interest funds, other County funds, or public donations could be used to develop that land. The County could also use a piece of the proposed Brookdale Park, which is yet to be developed in open land north of Rt. 6. The suggestion that the shelter needs a centralized location is not viable. County residents visit the shelter rarely, only in search of a lost dog or to adopt a new pet. Another possibility would be to remodel or expand the shelter at its present location.

Sets a dangerous precedent: Cutting 4 -5 acres of a beautiful wooded area from the northern boundary of Sunset Hill Farm Park could lead the County to consider selling other parcels of park land along Rt. 6 for commercial development, thus destroying the integrity of the farmís landscape and eliminating a beautiful stretch of open fields, ponds, and woods that are an oasis of uninterrupted beauty for drivers on Rt. 6.

A Bad Site for the Animals: To place stressed dogs and cats recovering from abandonment at a busy intersection with higher than usual carbon dioxide fumes would be a mistake. Animals in recovery need clean air and a quiet country location. Also, the addition of barking dogs and the odor of animal waste would only add to the stress of drivers stopped at the light and making turns onto or off of Rt. 6.

A Legacy for the Future: Sunset Hill Farm Park was established as Porter Countyís first public park. It provides a wealth of public programs and events, as well as an active nature education outreach program. Perhaps even more importantly, it preserves a gift from the past, a reminder of the rich agricultural history of Porter County and of the open prairies, woods, and streams that greeted the areaís first pioneers. Letís not squander this gift by breaking up the integrity of the parkís landscape with ill-advised moves to accommodate unrelated County needs, when other options are clearly available.

Jane Walsh-Brown

Liberty Township Resident

and Sunset Hill Park Supporter



Posted 8/23/2013