The Porter County
Park Board agreed to give the Illiana Garden Railway Society some extra
space for its model railroad display at its meeting Thursday night.
IGRS asked for a
40’ x 80’ plot of space last spring, and later the estimate went up to 50’ x
100’. The location: the grassy area west of the old restrooms along the road
that leads to the amphitheater between Redbud Trail and the pond.
IGRS has decided to
make some changes that require more space, including a five-foot sidewalk
around the display and a 12’ x 32’ building for storage, IGRS President
David Ransom said. Ransom also noted that the organization may want to have
space for picnic tables or expansion in the future.
The new design
calls for a 64’ x 104’ space. Ransom says the buildings they’re looking at
are prebuilt, barn-shaped cabins, and the display will be surrounded by a
six-foot high fence to keep out deer. However, it won’t be a privacy fence,
and visitors to the park and drivers passing by on the road will be able to
see the display, which has about 1,100 feet of track that circulates in a
rough oval around a model town called Franville. There is an engine supply
yard at the north end of the tracks, and Ransom says the plans now include a
track for G-scale live steam model engines. The group has a couple of “live
steamers,” members who use live steam models rather than electric engines,
and Ransom said he hopes more will join.
Craig Kenworthy, for his part, said there’s no harm in allowing IGRS to use
the extra space because it doesn’t amount to much, but he asked that Ransom
continually update the Board about changes in the design.
After the Park
Department’s communications director resigned last month, Parks
Superintendent Walter Lenckos reported that he has reevaluated the demands
of that position. “I think its always good to a reevaluate when someone
leaves,” Lenckos said.
Lenckos, with the
help of the County’s new HR Director Heather Shearer, came up with a
proposal to split the full-time communications director position into two
part-time positions--one to focus on events and rentals and one to focus on
public relations. Some aspects of the position will move to the office
coordinator. Lenckos said meetings with the budget and personnel committee,
Shearer’s advice, and his own experience had roles in the decision. The
part-time people will work up to 29 hours a week and be paid up to $15 an
hour. No additional money is needed to fund the change, but the part-time
people will be paid out of the non-reverting fund rather than the General
The Board approved
the changes to the budget and the job descriptions. The vote was unanimous
with members Annetta Jones and Chris Richardson absent.
Meet the animals at
Sunset Hill Farm Park will be Saturday, April 7, starting at 10 a.m. The
Northwest Indiana Historical Power Association will be hosting a corn
Summer camp is
filling up fast. “If folks are looking to make sure their kids get in our
summer camp, call or go on the website to secure those spots,” Lenckos said.
He reported the camp is about two-thirds full.
In other Park Board
business, Lenckos said he is applying for funding through NIPSCO’s
environmental action grants. He plans for the money, if awarded, to go
toward shining up the east side of the pond at Sunset Hill by removing
invasive plants and replacing them with native ones. He said such a project
would tie in with the signage updates that are in progress.
came before the Board on behalf of the newly formed Northwest Indiana
Croquet Association. Sawyier said the group has its eye on some space at
Sunset Hill and would like to give a presentation about constructing a
four-court complex that could house championship croquet games. “We could
bring full-fledged national competitions here and really have a lot of fun,”
The group will
present at the Park Board’s next meeting, Thursday, May 3.