Chesterton Tribune



Park regular budget approved; capital request up in air

Back To Front Page



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.

Parks 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.

The capital 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.

Lenckos said 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 said.

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.


Member Drew 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.

Board President 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 office.

In other 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.”

Seeding and planting Black-eyed Susan flowers was also completed at Brookdale Park. The flowers wrap around half of the fishing pond.



Posted 10/9/2018




Search This Site:

Custom Search