Members of the Porter County Parks and Recreation Board voted Thursday to
ask the County Council and the County Commissioners for $600,000 to acquire
property somewhere south of U.S. 30.
A 6-0 vote favored board member Craig Kenworthy’s motion.
Kenworthy is tight-lipped about the exact location of the property, same as
he was last month when he made known ongoing discussions with an unnamed
property owner. The park, he said, would have active recreation amenities
like baseball / softball and soccer fields along with passive features such
as nature areas and walking trails.
From the floor, County Council member Jim Polarek, R-4th, said he had
conversations with some of the commissioners earlier in the day who shared
the view that a south county park would enhance the quality of life for
“This is something a lot of people have tried to get done for years,” he
Polarek said he also spoke with a few of his peers on the Council who see
the need. He will see it to it that the request will be on the agenda for
the Council’s next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
“I think this is something we need to look at,” said Board President Richard
Hudson. He added that having the funds ahead of time can steer the purchase.
“We will know what we can go after and how much land will be available.”
Fellow board member David Canright said lining up the money first would
garner more support from other stakeholders.
Hudson said other people could give comments besides the board members. The
park department’s Land Acquisition and Development Committee will hold a
public meeting at a later date for discussion.
In a similar matter, the Parks Department is also eying an acquisition for
Brincka-Cross Gardens Park in Furnessville, announced Parks Planner Ray
Speaking for Parks Superinten-dent Walter Lenckos who was absent Thursday,
Joseph said the parks department is seeking grants and partnerships from
organizations including the Lake Michigan Coastal Program to purchase a
parcel of land located to the Northeast of Brincka-Cross gardens. The
current property owner has approached the parks department about a possible
Given its location near U.S. 20, Joseph added the purchase could potentially
link the park with that of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Canright said
putting in trails that would be near the National Lakeshore campground
across U.S. 20 and the railroad could be considered.
Joseph said he did not know details or the size of the parcel in the
potential deal and said Lenckos will likely speak more on it at the board’s
next meeting in March.
Parks supporter Charlotte Read suggested to the board that with its request
for the $600,000 for the south county park, it should also ask the County
Council and Commissioners about using other funds for a matching grant with
the Lake Michigan Coastal Grant program. The grant could help pay for an
appraisal, she said.
Meanwhile, Herb Read encouraged the board to find out more about the
state-owned areas around the Kankakee River near the Ind. 49 bridge. He said
they could be used for canoeing or paddling and a destination for the
Dunes-Kankakee Trail. He said the county parks in return could agree to
manage the land.
Also at the
meeting, the board discussed concepts for new landscaping at Sunset Hill
Farm County Park along U.S. 6 to the north where the Damon Run Conservancy
has a 40 foot wide easement in the park. Park Planner Joseph said invasive
tree species will be removed and native plant species will be planted near
the roadway for aesthetic purposes.
plan proposes another component – a tall fence to surround and hide the pump
house with brick and limestone posts. Joseph said he has sent out requests
for price estimates.
before landscaping efforts begin, everyone should keep in mind that the
state could widen U.S. 6 to four or more lanes in the next few years as more
development is being seen in the area.
matter, the board tabled a discussion regarding a new version of the Raise
the Barn Education Center floor plans to its March meeting.
there have been discussions with the Recycling and Waste Reduction office
and the Porter County-Purdue Extension office in the past few days about
developing space to move their offices to the center along with the parks