The Porter County
Park Board’s annual budget has been approved, but the County Council has
tabled the Board’s list of capital requests, saying all capital requests
will be considered at an Oct. 16 hearing.
Superintendent Walter Lenckos reported at the Park Board’s meeting last
night that he brought the budget before the Council last week, and it was
approved with one change. Lenckos and the Board agreed to request doubling
the amount of funding for maintenance from $30,000 in 2018 to $60,000 in
2019, but the Council didn’t approve. Instead, the maintenance line item
will increase to $40,000 in 2019.
projects and requested funding are as follows: $60,000 for equipment
including new mowers or chippers, $40,000 for barn removal and residence
upgrades at Brincka Cross Gardens, $105,000 for parking lot and trail
development at Brookdale Park, $15,000 for an ADA compliant ramp at Dunn’s
Bridge County Park, $13,000 for phase one restoration at Hawk Ridge, and
$150,000 to fund the relocation of the animal program at Sunset Hill Farm
County Park, as well as playground development and campground upgrades. The
total ask for capital outlays is $383,000.
another mower went down last week. “We’re really in a position where we’re
gonna have to acquire another zero turn mower and harvest one for parts,” he
Lenckos said if the
Council doesn’t approve the capital request or only approves some of the
projects, the Board can prioritize projects that will generate revenue and
continue to bring people into the parks.
Armstrong has had concerns about maintenance, especially the parking lot and
main road and the program center roof at Sunset Hill, for a few months now.
Armstrong asked if the funds are available for those projects this year.
Lenckos said funds
for the program center roof are in place, and the roof is scheduled to be
done in one day on Oct. 10, weather permitting. The last expenses from the
maintenance and repair line item will be from the last invoices for trail
markers and interpretive signs installed earlier this year. After the roof
and those last invoices, there will be enough left to do something with the
road, though Lenckos isn’t sure how exhaustive.
Lenckos said he
received quotes for work on the road and parking lot that varied from $8,000
to $37,000 because some contractors took different approaches. One broke
down the project into sections based on how much the Board will want to put
into it, another recommended a double layer of sealcoating due to heavy use.
Lenckos said he’ll be going back to get more precise quotes.
Craig Kenworthy suggested that Lenckos talk to Highway Department
Superintendent Rich Sexton about how the Highway Department might be able to
seal the road inexpensively. The Highway Department recently received a
$750,000 additional appropriation to begin acquiring equipment to do
in-house chip and sealing of county roads. Lenckos said he wasn’t sure when
Sexton expected to get the sealing equipment, but he has been in contact to
say that the Park Department is always welcome to borrow one of Highway’s
three new chippers.
Lenckos also noted
and Board Attorney David Hollenbeck confirmed that the Board can encumber
2018 funds for a project that will be completed in 2019 if a contract is in
place before the end of the year, with approval from the County Auditor’s
maintenance business, Lenckos reported the new wetland observation deck
overlooking Sunset Hill’s No Can Do Pond has been installed, with help from
a NIPSCO grant and volunteers on United Way Day of Caring. Armstrong said he
had seen it already. “It really looks nice. They did a great job.”
planting Black-eyed Susan flowers was also completed at Brookdale Park. The
flowers wrap around half of the fishing pond.