Chesterton Tribune



County Park Board to move Sunset Hill animals to 'NIHPA campground' site

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The animal program at Sunset Hill Farm County park will move to the NIHPA campground so the animals can have more space.

The Porter County Park Board made that move at its meeting Tuesday night, after previously committing last year to find a permanent home for the Sunset Hill animals. Before their vote, members discussed five potential sites for the animals and the pros and cons of each.

Member David Canright reported that he was among those who visited the five sites, along with members of the Northwest Indiana Historical Power Association (NIHPA), and they decided that either the current location or the NIHPA campground would be the best spot. The animal committee suggested a one-acre site in its five-year plan, Canright noted, and the NIHPA campground will accommodate that better than where the animals are now. Both sites have electricity available and neither is in the path of drainage. Canright did say that there are some issues with the current site being more accessible, but there also isn’t enough room to create the one-acre campus for the animals without disrupting other activities at the park. It also has no room for expansion.

Canright said that he supports the campground location because it allows the animal program to grow. “In the long run, it creates the situation where there is potential for expansion beyond an acre.”

President Craig Kenworthy agreed. “Giving up a one-acre parcel behind where they are right now would become very obtrusive,” he said.

Board Vice-President Rich Hudson asked how building the new location, which includes a new barn, would be funded. Kenworthy responded, “We don’t have the money to build the site. We all know that,” and added that the project will require donations and fundraising. The Board and the animal committee can look for donors, but not without a plan. “If we don’t have a permanent site for the animals, then we can’t even start that process.”

The Board voted 4-1 to move the animals to the NIHPA campground with member Drew Armstrong dissenting. Chris Richardson was absent.

Kenworthy emphasized that the animals won’t be moved any time soon due to planning. As Parks Superintendent Walter Lenckos reported, “We’re not moving the animals this year.”

NIHPA also agreed that the new site was best for the animals but said that it will require use of the space behind the amphitheater in exchange for it.


Posted 3/2/2018




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