The Porter County
Park Board approved a change order for work on the new Horton Children’s
Center parking lot at its meeting Monday night.
The change order
came about after the subcontractor excavating the site of the parking lot
found unstable soil caused by wood and concrete debris from an old barn
buried on the site. Through the Board’s construction manager, Chester Inc.,
the subcontractor presented a change order for an increase of $18,000 to
stabilize the soil 18 inches down using materials already on site.
The Board approved
the change order contingent on the Porter County Parks Foundation approving
it as well.
The Board also
discussed the 2020 budget, ultimately approving the draft budget, contingent
on any changes made by the budget committee.
The only major
change in the budget from last year is the Board is asking for an additional
$20,000 to $30,000 in funds for maintenance and repair. Board President
Craig Kenworthy said he thinks County leadership is starting to value
preventative maintenance more because assets that aren’t maintained well
come with big costs down the line. “My feeling is by asking for more money
for maintenance now, maybe we can offset that issue down the road,”
Vice-president Rich Hudson agreed: “I think it’s better to plan for it than
to have it come up and have this huge elephant on our backs. If we don’t do
maintenance as it comes along, then we’re in trouble.”
Superintendent Walter Lenckos said he also plans to request a change in
salary ranges for park employees. Currently, the top wage for many part-time
employees at the Park Department is $13.50 an hour. Lenckos said he wants to
raise that ceiling to $15 an hour because several park employees are at the
top range and may be eligible for raises in the future.
“If we need to
raise them, we don’t have room. It would be nice in the next year or so to
have that freedom,” Lenckos said. Raising the maximum wage would not change
anyone’s pay in itself.
On that note, Board
member Drew Armstrong said the Board should reconsider its recent tendency
to fill vacant full-time positions by splitting the work into part-time
“Maybe that bit us
a little bit here,” he said, in light of the fact that Parks PR Coordinator
Brooke Allen recently moved on. Armstrong suggested offering full-time work
with benefits could help the Department attract and retain valuable
The Board also
approved Nancy Lakin, of Northwest Indiana Geocachers, to place a new
geocache at Brincka-Cross Gardens. Lakin is in charge of all NWI Geocacher
geocaches in North Porter County.
Lakin said she
plans to place a handicap accessible “multi-cache” at the Gardens, which
means several clues will lead geocachers to a central location in the
Gardens where they sign a log sheet to show that they’ve been there. Lakin
said having a multi-cache at Brincka-Cross is “a way to advertise this
unique property and get the history of it out there.”
thanked the Board and the Foundation members for their work on the Horton
Children’s Center building project and his staff for making the Spring-Out
to Sunset Festival a success, in spite of the rain. He also thanked the
Northwest Indiana Historical Power Association (NIHPA) for providing wagon
rides at the festival and thanked NIHPA President Nick Misch for lending use
of the NIHPA shop for summer camp on short notice. “They did a spectacular
job making sure we were all ready to go,” Lenckos said.
Lenckos told the
Board that two people contacted him about donating land last week. One of
the properties in question abuts the Department’s work-in-progress property,
Hawk Ridge, in Pine Township. The other is a parcel near Hebron. Lenckos
said he’ll be having further discussions with the Board’s land acquisition
and development committee about the properties.
Lenckos made a
reminder that the Prairie Magic Music festival is August 17 at Sunset Hill
Farm Park. Los Lobos is headlining with additional acts Big Road, Robbie
Fulks, and the Bottle Rockets.
New meeting date
The Park Board has
rescheduled its July meeting, which was set to fall on July 4, for Tuesday,
July 16 at 6 p.m.