to learn how to join.
Model train set at
enthusiasts can check out the Colonels, another hobby may be coming to
Sunset Hill Farm -- model trains.
The Park Board
heard a request from the Illiana Garden Railway Society, which is looking
for a new home after Samuelson’s Nursery on Ind. 2 near Washington Twp. High
School closed this year.
David Ransem said the train set was started in 2003 at Samuelson’s Nursery.
The group has occasionally shown their display at Sunset Hill Farm with the
help of the Northern Indiana Historical Power Association.
“We are looking for
a new home. The people out at Sunset Hill were always great. They were happy
to have us,” said Ransem.
The display would
be 80’ by 20’, or 120’ by 40’ when including the walking space, said Ransem,
and would be the same layout as it was at Samuelson’s, with nearly 1,100
feet of track. There would be six operated lines that would course around a
model town (named Franville after Fran Samuelson), with a saw mill, a farm,
spring rapids, a lake, a baseball diamond, an engine supply yard and oil
Ransem said the
IGRS would have its operating hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays
running May through September. Two Children Days would be planned featuring
Thomas the Tank Engine.
A storage shed will
hold the model buildings in the months the display is not in operation, but
the track itself would stay out all year, Ransem said. The operation would
require 15 to 30 parking spaces, a meeting place, restrooms and a water line
to fill the pond.
Lenckos and Park
Board President Rich Hudson said the park has what IGRS needs but the
question is where in the park it should be located. Ransem said when
visiting it had been located near NIHPA’s storage shed, south of the chicken
coop. Lenckos said that area does flood at times.
Park board members
discussed a few other options around the sheds and will continue to work to
determine a spot that could work.
IGRS Treasurer Owen
Todd said the hope is to have the railroad display in by next summer.
Lenckos said he
believes the display “fits in well” with the purpose of Sunset Hill in that
it provides something for families to enjoy.
mentioned that the Parks’ Land Acquisition and Development Committee was
approached with a possible offer by a land owner willing to donate a
one-third acre parcel on Derby Ave. near Beverly Shores.
Board member Craig
Kenworthy said the owner, a Boca Rotan, Fla. resident, is looking to donate
to a government entity. It is an undeveloped wooded area but the Parks
Department could eventually sell it and “put the money into (the Parks’)
Board member David
Canright said he is familiar with the location and the parcel is “probably
not buildable without variances.” Hudson said he was in favor of accepting
the donation and will direct board attorney David Hollenbeck to make sure
the taxes are paid on the property and the park board has the proper
In other business:
-- The Park
Department will be a recipient this year of the Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s
Bringing Nature Home award for the ongoing restoration of the pond and
prairie at Sunset Hill. Lenckos said at least 10 different entities have
been involved in the private-public partnership. The award will be presented
Friday at The Spa in Porter.
-- Surveys for the
Parks’ Master Plan update have been mailed out to 5,000 randomly selected
homes in Porter County. Those who return them by Nov. 17 will earn a free
pass to the annual Winter Lights Festival, Lenckos said. The festival will
be on Saturday, Nov. 18 at Sunset Hill Farm and the official host this year
is the Porter County Parks Foundation.
-- Hudson said the
Foundation along with NIHPA have agreed to work together on refurbishing the
former superintendent resident at Sunset Hill from a structural and a use
-- Contracts for
Rhoda Farms and Otis Valley Farms to rent farmland owned by the Parks
Department were extended by the board.
-- The board voted
5-0 to accept a new lease agreement with NIHPA, allowing them to use the
buildings and grounds for its events. A term was added that will allow NIHPA
to have shows for the next five-years which it said will aid them in getting
sponsorships. Absent from the vote was board member Tom Schnabel.