Chesterton Tribune



Porter County buys 46 acre addition to BrinckaCross Gardens

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Brincka-Cross Gardens will more than double in size without using any public tax dollars.

The Porter County Parks and Recreation Board approved purchase of 46 acres of woodlands between the park at 427 Furness Rd. in Pine Twp. and the south side of U.S. 20 across from the Indiana Dunes Lakeshore with $309,000 given by a charitable benefactor who at this time wishes to remain anonymous.

The property abuts the current park on its northern border and is owned by the Smith family.

Parks Superintendent Walter Lenckos said part of the donation will be used as a matching grant with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for $150,000, specifically for recreational trails. Part of the new trails will include an expansion of the decorative gardens which have led some to call Brincka-Cross “the gem of the Porter County Parks.”

Lenckos said it will be a while before the trails are finished, estimating completion in three years.

The purchase was approved by the board immediately after they approved another purchase on Thursday, a 63.5 acre parcel north of Kouts that will be developed with sports fields (see related story).

“Tonight you have acquired over 100 acres of land,” Board attorney David Hollenbeck told the members.

In another matter related to Brincka-Cross, Lenckos said the gardens and home were featured in the national magazine “Ancestry Quarterly,” giving the park some free publicity. The writer/photographer wrote an account on the property’s original owners William Brincka and Basil Cross and includes a fictional conversation they might have had while planning for a party, Lenckos said.

Winter Lights successes

Also Thursday, Recreation Director Becky Krieger announced the winners for the Winter Lights Art Contest from the festival at Sunset Hill Farm. Flint Lake Elementary took 1st in its category followed by Memorial Elementary in 2nd place, Discovery Charter School in 3rd, and Parkview Elementary in 4th.

In the high school division, Washington High School took first.

The Winter Lights Festival on Nov. 16 saw about the same traffic as last year, despite frigid weather, Lenckos said and he thanked the 100-plus volunteers who helped make the event a success.

Nick Misch of the Northern Indiana Historical Power Association said the line for their wagon rides at the Festival was continuous from 3 to 8:30 p.m.

The light displays will be lit every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, now through New Year’s, and it’s free for residents to tour, Lenckos said.

Special meeting Dec. 16

The board ended up tabling a few housekeeping items such as its lease renewals with NIHPA and the Porter County Parks Foundation due to possible changes in those agreements to enhance their partnerships.

Hollenbeck said the lease agreements would need to be approved by Dec. 31 and the board will need to meet again this month to vote on those.

A special board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m. One thing the board did approve was to retain Hollenbeck next year under a contract identical to this year’s.

“It is a privilege to work with a group that is focused on raising the quality of life for the people of Porter County,” Hollenbeck said.

Absent from the meeting Thursday was park board member Ruth Jarnecke.



Posted 12/6/2013




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