The Porter County
Park Board approved sharing the cost of a new roof and new coat of paint on
the Norwest Indiana Historical Power Association (NIHPA) shop building at
its meet last week.
The NIHPA shop is
an often used building at Sunset Hill Farm County Park, and its been in need
of a new roof for a while. Board member Drew Armstrong reported materials
and install for the new white sheet metal roof will cost $12,600, and the
same company will pressure wash and repaint the building for $2,800 for a
total of $15,400.
the Park Board put up half the cost, or $7,700 from the Park building and
maintenance line, in a move that’s beneficial to both the Park Department
and NIPHA since finances are uncertain due to the as-of-yet unknown economic
fallout from COVID-19.
“An opportunity has
arisen,” Armstrong said. “If we could pony up half of the money for these
repairs to our building, NIHPA would be able to pony up the other half, thus
doubling the value of both our building and showing good faith in a
partnership that’s been ongoing for years.”
Craig Kenworthy said a 50/50 match sounded good to him. Parks Superintendent
Walter Lenckos said there is about $35,000 available in the Parks building
and maintenance line item, and the money is free so far except for two
expenses he anticipates: approximately $10,000 for paving the road at Sunset
Hill with the help of the County Highway Department, and approximately
$2,800 for barn removal at Brincka-Cross gardens.
Board member Bryan
Waisanen said he’s especially inclined to keep up with Park maintenance
since more people are getting outdoors in the wake of COVID-19. “I want to
make sure they have the nicest parks, clean and well kept, and I think we’d
have a hard time moving forward, potentially if our budget is slashed next
year, if we’re not showing that we’re taking care of them,” he said.
Staff training for
Camp Funset started Monday with two outreach nurses from the County Health
Department giving a presentation on COVID-19 safety. Lenckos also
coordinated with the Health department to have counselors tested for
COVID-19 and to get feedback on the camp safety plan. “I am just amazed and
impressed by the County Health Department and grateful for the support
they’ve given us,” Lenckos said.
Lenckos also said
his staff have done a great job communicating with parents about the new
precautions and thanked staff for making camp possible. “Thank you to all of
our staff. They’ve been putting in a considerable amount of work,” he said.
“And I really appreciate the board’s diligence on all of this,” he added.
Camp Funset opens
Monday, June 15 with extra precautions such as the extra staff training,
hourly handwashing and sanitization after activities, smaller groups, lower
enrollment, and social distancing. Indoor spaces used by campers will not be
available for rental until camp is over.
business, the Board approved Lenckos to transfer approximately $2,900 from
event expenses to reimburse the IT Department for a new laptop it provided
the Park Department and to spend $2,000 on COVID-19 summer camp precautions,
including personal protective equipment and potential COVID-19 testing costs
budget-wise, the Park Department is doing okay despite losses in rental and
special event revenue. Lenckos always factors a 15 percent cushion into the
budget, and he anticipates it will remain intact.
In other business,
Kenworthy suggested the Board unload some of its property in Pine Township
and consider expanding to other areas. Between the Brincka-Cross Gardens,
the in-development Hawk Ridge property, and a recent donation, the Park
Department has about 300 acres in Pine Township.
unloading some land in Pine could enable the Board to better serve citizens
in other townships. “Pine Township is one of the most diverse areas of the
County, but it’s also one of the least populated. We have other areas of the
county I think we might think about taking that money and serving,” he said.