Porter County may find a permanent use for its former county home site Ind.
2 right across from the Animal Shelter.
On Tuesday, Stuart Stanfill and Bryan McFadden, president and vice-president
of the Valpo Soccer Club respectively, pitched to the county board of
commissioners the idea of developing the 9-acre site into sports practice
The pair said the club has been using fields of the Valparaiso Parks system
but they are becoming crowded by more sports teams.
“Three teams and two sports have been played on one field at the same time,”
Facing the need for more space, Stanfill and McFadden asked County Parks
Superintendent Walter Lenckos if he knew of any place in the county parks
where teams could play. Lenckos said the parks, except for the undeveloped
Brookdale Park in Liberty Twp., are zoned for passive use but he thought the
county home site could be a possible location for these fields.
The goal would be to develop three to four full-size 120’ x 80’ soccer
fields. Stanfill said the club has money to put forward to offset the
They asked that VSC get “first dibs” on use of the fields, but the fields
could be used for any soccer club in Porter County like the Duneland Soccer
Club. Stanfill said there is 22 Lake/Porter soccer clubs in the Northwest
Indiana Soccer League with the VSC being the largest with players hailing
from Kouts and as far away as North Judson.
VSC would use the grounds for practice during their biannual twelve week
seasons. The area could also be used in the summer for camp activities.
A rough map shows there could also be a T-ball field, a picnic pavilion,
parking, a playground and walking trails that would enhance the surrounding
Stanfill said the VSC would also like to build with its own funds a storage
facility where it could store equipment.
Lenckos said the parks department would be willing to help out with
maintenance. He recommended an agreement between the county and VSC could be
done as a Memorandum of Understanding.
Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, said he liked the idea but had
plenty of questions as to who would be in charge of “rolling the ground” and
what additional needs the sports teams would have, such as lighting and
Stanfill said lights were not necessary but bathrooms would be and VSC would
be willing to talk further about costs. VSC gets its insurance through their
Commissioner Carole Knoblock, D-South, asked that the matter be tabled since
it was the first time she had heard about the proposal.
Evans said he would like to have a nod from the county parks board before
taking a vote. Lenckos said the board will discuss it at its meeting
Thursday night with representatives from VSC.
The county home grounds are incorporated into the Valparaiso City Limits and
Evans said it would be the city that would have to adjust the zoning. Right
now much of the parcel is a wetland, he said.
Lenckos said he does not intend for the property to become part of the parks
system. It is owned by the county board of commissioners. However, there
have been requests from county residents to have recreational opportunities
south of Valparaiso and this would help fulfill that demand, he said.
juvenile home arrests
Meanwhile, Porter County Juvenile Services Director Alison Cox is proposing
a way to reduce the number of delinquents held at the Juvenile Detention
Center by putting more on house arrest as a less stressful form of
The commissioners gave unanimous approval to first reading of a new
ordinance that proposes per diem fees for the home arrest program. Families
with low risk children would be charged $3 a day while those with higher
risk children would have to pay a $5 daily fee.
Cox said about 40 children are on house arrest currently and with the new
measure in place, the number of candidates for house arrest are expected to
Those in the house arrest program will be given support and supervision. The
proceeds from the fees would go to fund more part-time workers for the
If the ordinance is passed, families would have the option of being charged
the fee once a court determines a juvenile to be delinquent or during the
time the child is in the house arrest program.
The commissioners will take a second and final reading on the ordinance to
set the fees at their next meeting Oct. 16.
In other business:
• Garriup Construction of Gary was selected as the firm to perform the
Evergreen Avenue Bridge reconstruction for $573,400. The deteriorated
bridge, which was closed for safety over a year ago, crosses over Willow
Creek in Portage. County Highway Superintendent Al Hoagland said the work
will start on Oct. 22.
• The commissioners appointed Kathryn Lemmon to fill a vacant spot on the
Health Board. Lemmon had served previously on the board from 2003 to 2010.
• The Memorial Opera House was approved $8,640 for roof repairs and
replacement of old gutters. Interim Director Michelle Smith said the last
renovation was done about 15 years ago. FR Sheet Metal of Gary who was the
lowest and most responsive bidder will do the work. Meanwhile, the
commissioners will put out a request for bids for a new storage building at
the Expo Center and Fairgrounds.