The “gem” of the Porter County Parks system, Brinkca-Cross Gardens, will
nearly triple in size by the end of the year when the parks department
closes on acquisition of a 46-acre parcel due north of the existing
At last week’s Park and Recreation board meeting, Superintendent Walter
Lenckos told the board a private donor has made a contribution of $300,000
to purchase the land.
Lenckos said there are no plans for development for the added property yet
other than environmental conservation. He said he will consider discussing
usage and master planning later, but not until his department closes on the
The new parcel is essentially all woodlands as much of the park is already,
Also, the department was successful in landing a matching recreation trails
grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for approximately
$150,000 for building new trails at Brincka-Cross Gardens. The department
provided a 20 percent match for the enhancement grant.
Lenckos said the money is good for building about mile of trails that will
be enough to build around the garden areas which sit on four acres but will
not enough to extend trails all the way through the current 21 acres of
The Department earlier had received 10 proposals for the trail systems this
summer. Lenckos hopes to have a contractor soon and work is to be completed
when the park opens for its spring 2014 season.
Lenckos also said renovations to the parking area have been completed and
staff have put more directional signage to the park along U.S. 20.
“It’s easy to get to, it’s easy to find, and it’s easy to park,” Lenckos
Brincka-Cross Gardens is located at 427 East Furness Rd. in Pine Twp. and
opened to the public in April 2010. The gardens are home to 400 different
types of hostas, 450 varieties of daffodils, 40 cultivars of ornamental
grasses and a number of crab apple trees, magnolias, and forsythias.
Meanwhile, Lenckos had mentioned during the September board meeting that the
family of founding park board president Art Willing were considering a
donation toward the Raise the Barn project at Sunset Hill Farm which would
be a “game-changer” toward its development.
Lenckos said he is pleased to announce that the family has formally made a
donation in the amount of $300,000.
The board has decided it will name the planned outdoor education classroom
in memory of Art Willing, Lenckos said. Willing had taught at River Forest
School in Hobart for almost 30 years and played a key role in developing
Sunset Hill Farm as a park.
Parks Board attorney David Hollenbeck said he commends the “incredible high
works” of the department, securing the $600,000 in donations and the
$150,000 grant money, bringing some savings to the taxpayers.