Chesterton Tribune



Sunset Hill Park grain bin education center moves ahead

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The Porter County Park Board heard updates on progress on the design of the new grain bin education center at its meeting Thursday night.

Tony Peuquet and Laura Small of Chester, Inc came before the Board to present the final drawings for the grain bin education center at Sunset Hill Farm Park. Their drawings featured the round, silo-style design of the grain bin with a kitchenette, storage area, and mezzanine for ductwork and a small mechanical room inside. The grain bin portion of the structure will have an entrance by glass double doors from the northwest. It will have a 50-foot radius for about 1,900 square feet of space and a corridor leading to another structure with bathrooms.

Peuquet reports that construction could start as soon as mid-August if the County Development Review Committee grants its approval. Peuquet and Small are hoping to turn in their application for review as soon as possible and be on the agenda at the next Development Review meeting.

In light of the progress, the Board approved Board President Craig Kenworthy to sign the contract approving the second phase of the design process.

Croquet Group

The Board discussed the Northwest Indiana Croquet Association’s request for a long-term lease on land at Sunset Hill. Board member David Canright reported that a meeting of the land acquisition and development committee concluded that the four proposed croquet courts would be better placed side by side rather than in a square, and he motioned to approve that change.

Parks Superintendent Walter Lenckos also reported that Matt Brown, maintenance supervisor for Porter County Parks, raised some questions about the group’s plans, such as concerns about drainage into the pond, potential use of the nearby farmhouse as a clubhouse, and pest management.

Michael Sawyier, representing the group, responded that the group is willing to pay to make the farmhouse habitable as a clubhouse and addressed concerns that the use of land for croquet would be a private use of public land. He noted that the group has applied for 501c3 non-profit status and said “Our goal is inclusively not exclusivity.”

“As soon as we get the greenlight from the IRS we will be making rapid progress,” he added.

The Board opted to table Canright’s motion and to revisit the group’s plans at a later time.

Staff Report

Lenckos reported that he has filled the two part-time positions that were designed to replace the vacant full-time Communications Coordinator position. The position was split into two, Event Coordinator and Public Relations Coordinator, who will each work a maximum of 29 hours per week and net a maximum of $15 per hour. The new Event Coordinator is Madison McKendry, a Purdue alum, and the new PR Coordinator is Brooke Allen, former Community Engagement Director for Dunes Tourism.

Other Business

In other business, Lenckos reported that the owners of a property northeast of the Brincka Cross Gardens have expressed interest in selling 35 acres of their adjoining land. Brincka Cross Gardens is currently 83 acres, and such a purchase would increase the size of the park by roughly 40 percent. Lenckos said the purchase, like the grain bin, would be funded entirely from grants and use no taxpayer money. The Board approved Lenckos looking into the first steps of acquiring the property, which will include applying for funding through the Lake Michigan Coastal Program.


Posted 6/11/2018




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