The Porter Park Board agreed Tuesday a master plan needs to be developed to
coordinate Hawthorne Park’s existing, planned and suggested uses including a
Lack of a plan didn’t stop the board from endorsing the concept of, but not
the specific location for, a Chesterton/Porter Rotary Club Born Learning
Trail like the one recently dedicated at Dogwood Park in Chesterton.
The trail uses 10 interactive stations in an outdoor setting to empower and
educate children to promote early literacy. The project is co-sponsored by
the United Way Success by 6 and the Parents As Teachers programs.
Rotary president Chuck Parkinson and past president Jim Anton showed the
Porter Park Board a brief video presentation about the Born Trail. “I love
it,” said board member Becky Maranto.
Board president Rondi Wightman initially said she preferred that the men
return with their request in the spring, but Parkinson said all they were
seeking at this time was authorization to work with park superintendent Jim
Miller to find a recommended location, possibly even in another town park.
With that done, said Anton, the Rotary could earmark a trail for Porter and
put it in later. The club purchases and installs the materials at its own
cost and supplies the labor to the extent the Park Department wishes. The
project includes optional stenciling on sidewalks adjacent to some of the
Born Trail stations.
The Park Board voted to develop a memorial garden at Hawthorne in
cooperation with the Porter Fire Department and a professional landscape
designer. Wightman later announced the Village Tavern in downtown Porter has
donated $1,000 toward construction of the new garden.
The Park Board is working on a memorial for the late Bud Tilden, a Porter
civic leader and friend of the parks, but now the project also will include
an area to remember hometown hero Spc. Jim Butz, a Porter native and town
firefighter who was killed in Afghanistan and laid to rest here.
The respective families will be consulted about their preferences, and board
member Patty Raffin said the community can have input once the park’s
options and opportunities are established. A goal is that the garden be
accessible to all.
Fire Department assistant chief Jay Craig told board members to count the
firefighters in. “It will be our honor to work on anything to support (Butz’s)
Craig said the Fire Department is considering erecting its own memorial to
fallen military and emergency responders as well.
Craig was present on behalf of firefighters to commend the Park Board for
the teamwork departments showed with event organizers Leroy’s Hot Stuff and
Pat’s Liquors to put on this past Saturday’s inaugural Porter’s Perfect Pint
brewfest, a fundraiser for the Park and Fire departments.
A steering committee will meet next week to determine how much money was
raised; over 200 cars were parked at Hawthorne for the event. Thanked was
Jack Kashak, present Tuesday, for his contributions.
Board member Jessie Campaniello thanked Liz Tilden, Leroy Flores, the Fire
Department and others involved for their vision in launching Porter’s
On another matter, the free family-fun Boo Bash is set for Sunday from 1 to
3 p.m. at Hawthorne’s community building. Halloween costume judging for ages
infant to 13 will begin at 2 p.m. Prizes will be awarded and refreshments
will be served.
• Superintendent Miller was given permission to hire a seasonal employee to
work November to April 1.
• The board OK’d a one-year contract for $550 with Ryan Fire Protection;
McDaniel Fire Systems, the current company that maintains the community
building’s fire-suppression system, quoted $1,273.
• Miller said the town is requesting that the Park Department reduce its
2011 appropriation by $4,517. Wightman said she’s asked the park’s attorney
about the request.
• By unanimous vote the board approved the free Feb. 11 rental of the
community building by a Relay for Life team for a public bunco
party/fundraiser. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be collected by
the team for the American Cancer Society.