Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Board to get proposal for survey of newest county park

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The Land Acquisition and Development Committee is prepared to give the Porter County Parks and Recreation Board their recommendation for survey work on the first phase of development of what is being called the Brookdale Park Project in Liberty Township.

The park board will meet Thursday, April 1 at 6:00 p.m. in the Porter County Administration Center.

The development committee met at Sunset Hill Farm County Park on Tuesday along with representatives from possible partnering organizations -- Liberty Rec, Inc., the Boys and Girls Clubs of Porter County, the Duneland Soccer Club, and the Calumet Regional Striders of Northwest Indiana -- to discuss actions needed to “get the ball rolling” on starting the initial stages of park construction.

Development Committee Chair Richard Maxey said four firms had replied to the committee’s Request for Proposals issued earlier this month, the highest received being $28,000 and the lowest being $7,000. Maxey said he will recommend the proposal with the lowest figure to the park board.

Maxey said it is important that all members of the committee give input on design and funding the project located on the north side of CR 900N and west of Meridian Rd.

“We need everybody to be active, doing work for the project. Time is ticking,” said Maxey.

The survey work, if approved by the parks board, will be used as data for a $200,000 matching grant the committee plans to apply for with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Maxey said the grant money would be available in 2011 for the development of softball and soccer fields and possibly concession stands or restroom facilities.

The DNR grant also asks for information regarding a master plan for the development which may not be ready in time for the June 1 deadline. However, Maxey said a representative from the DNR is willing to work with the committee on getting the grant application filled out.

Maxey asked if the committee should start interviewing firms on putting together a master plan as this type of information is needed for the grant. Interim Parks Supervisor Mike Howton said the parks department has already exhausted most of their 2010 funds in maintaining other park properties and currently does not have money set aside for the survey work or the master plan.

Funds may not be available until 2011 depending on whether the county commissioners and the county council decide this year to approve additional funds in the parks’ budget for future developments.

Committee member James Perkins said it was unlikely that the project will break ground in 2010. The parks department is not allowed to build until the land is fully acquired from property owner Barney Michaels. Liberty Township resident Byron “Ed” Ruge told the committee he is in an agreement to farm a portion the land for one more year as part of a three-year contract he made with Michaels and former parks superintendent Ed Melendez.

The committee is exploring ways to raise funds. Maxey mentioned the possibility of holding a dinner event toward the end of the year or a golf outing. Steve Kearney of the Calumet Regional Striders said the committee should push the need for youth fitness in its fundraising efforts.

Maxey said it is important for the partnering organizations to “create a wish list” of things they want in the park and to give the park board a scope of dollar amounts associated with projects. He also asked that partnering organizations think about the language that they wish to include in a long-term lease agreement with the park department.

“We want this park to be state-of-the-art. We want to make it a nice facility of Porter County and maximize its use,” he said.

Also at Thursday’s park board meeting, landscape architect Chuck Lehman will speak to the board about developing a master plan for the Brincka-Cross property in Pine Township. It was announced this week that the park department will be giving guided tours of the Brincka-Cross Gardens and arboretum to the public from April 1 to October 31.

The Porter County Administration Center is located at 155 Indiana Ave. in Valparaiso.

 

Posted 3/31/2010

 

 

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