Children’s Center at Sunset Hill Farm County Park is on track to be ready
for summer camps and the Spring Out to Sunset Festival.
Superintendent Walter Lenckos gave updates on the status of the new grain
bin-shaped activity center currently under construction at Thursday’s
meeting of the County Park Board.
Lenckos said the
grain bin, named after generous donors the Horton family, will be complete
by the end of May. Some landscaping work could be delayed for weather, but
the building and its adjoining bathrooms will be functional and ready for
the public eye on May 18.
The Spring Out to
Sunset festival is Saturday, May 18 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will be
followed by a 4 p.m. concert featuring blues musician and son of blues
legend Muddy Waters, Joseph “Mojo” Morganfield.
entrance to Spring Out is $5 per car. Those attending only the concert won’t
have to pay the entrance fee. Tickets to the concert are $10 each.
reported that summer camps are nearly half-full, and the new building will
have plenty of room for 2019 campers’ use. Board member Drew Armstrong was
glad to hear the new building won’t be too cluttered. It will have storage,
but about 75 percent of it will be open space.
Lenckos said now
that there’s more space available, the program center will host mostly
art-focused activities, and activities in the new building will be more
“I think its
excellent that we’ll be able to get Camp Funset in there,” Armstrong said,
noting that the Department no longer has to use the Northwest Indiana
Historical Power Association (NIHPA) shop.
that the Department has an application in for grant funding for planting
native species to facilitate drainage at Aukiki Park.
Applying for this
funding is the first step toward developing Aukiki, a 63.5-acre park
property at the corner of C.R. 650S and Ind. 49 in Pleasant Township that
the Board acquired in 2013.
“I’m really pleased
with that and very appreciative of the County’s grant writer and her
expertise and time,” Lenckos said.
Lenckos said the
planting would be in line with the Park Department’s plan for Aukiki. “Part
of our plan calls for a significant detention area on the southwest corner
of the property.”
“We applied for
funding, and we’ll see if we can’t start working on that south edge of the
naturalized property there,” Lenckos said.
Lenckos, there have been concerns that the property sheet drains directly to
the south, and creating a “naturalized buffer area” of native plants and
flora should slow down the water. The Department used a similar strategy in
developing Brookdale Park.
Lenckos said the
funding will cover the cost of a section approximately 50 feet wide and
1,000 feet long, if awarded. The section could be situated along the west
side of a planned detention pond.
In June 2018,
Lenckos got word that a property owner was interested in selling 35-acres of
adjoining property northeast of Brincka-Cross Gardens to the Park
Such an acquisition
would increase the size of Brincka-Cross Gardens by nearly 40 percent.
the Department appears to be moving forward with the acquisition, which,
like the grain-bin project was, would be funded through grants and donations
and use no taxpayer money.
Lenckos made a
reminder that all dogs must be leashed at County parks. “All parks are
leashed facilities,” Lenckos said. “If your dogs are not on a leash and you
get caught by someone with a badge, they have a right to ticket you,
including Conservation Officers.”
Brookdale Park has been limited to the gravel entrance strip of the grass
parking area due to several vehicles getting stuck in the mud recently. The
muddy area has been roped off and the boundary marked with flags.
New signs, trail
markers, and maps at the County parks are up and have been getting positive
feedback, according to Parks PR Coordinator Brooke Allen.
The public can now
access past and current Park Board meeting agendas and minutes on the Parks