Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Plan introduced to raise $250,000 for Kids Cove park in Porter

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Residents of Porter Cove hungry to give their children a place to play said Tuesday that rehabbing the park containing Kids Cove at the southwest corner of their neighborhood will raise property values.

Blake Lange, who is leading the effort by Porter Cove residents to raise money to renovate the park, returned to the Porter Town Council with ideas on how to seek corporate sponsorships and private donations. He presented the Council with a flier on ways to help the residents reach their goal of $250,000.

“Porter Cove is working with the Town of Porter to build a premier park for the children of Northwest Indiana. The park will host children of all ages,” the flier said.

Sponsorship levels proposed include a platinum level of $100,000 that offered naming rights of the park. Other incentives included plaques to be put on playground equipment, business logos to be put on event posters and dinner with the Town Council.

Town Council President Greg Stinson asked Lange if he the thought $100,000 was a realistic amount to ask for a neighborhood park in a corner of town that doesn’t receive much traffic other than the people who live there, saying it would be difficult even for Hawthorne Park.

“My rebuttal to that is, ‘What if we do (get that donation)?’”, Lange said.

Lange said that Porter Cove is home to 267 homes and about one-fourth of the Town’s population. He referenced a study done by the National Parks Foundation that showed properties within proximity of a park have a 20 percent increase in property values. A 20 percent incremental value on the 267 homes in Porter Cove could mean about $90,000 more in annual property tax revenue, based on an average home market value of $175,000.

Lange said he met with Parks Director Brian Bugajski and saw that there was no inprovement plan for the park or funds to be raised in the budget for Kids Cove. “That led us to start a community boot-strapped effort to initiate a new park,” he said.

Some modifications have been made recently such as removing old and dangerous equipment. Besides the flier, residents are also forming efforts to raise funds during the Porter Perfect Pint event on Saturday, Oct. 14, Lange said.

Stinson raised the issue of what is legally feasible among the proposals on the flier. For example, the Town Council could not meet together for a dinner with a donor because of the Open Door Law, or at least they could not discuss anything related to business, he said, and there are other issues with using Town assets in promoting businesses.

Donations for a Town park would need to processed by the Town and he cautioned that donors might “go after” the Town if the goal isn’t reached or delayed.

“I think we need to be careful. It could cause some issues where people might complain,” Stinson said.

Lange said he understood Stinson’s points and this was only a matter of brainstorming. “What we did here is we threw out some ideas. We started from somewhere and we started from scratch,” he said.

Stinson asked that Lange meet with Town Council members Erik Wagner, who is liaison for the parks department, and Ross LeBleu about reworking the language on the flier and checking with Town Attorney Greg Sobkowski. If it meets with Sobkowski’s approval, the Council could permit the Porter Cove residents to distribute the flier at the next Council meeting on Sept. 12.

Bugaski asked if it would be practical to do a Memorandum of Understanding with residents. Sobkowski said he would need to see what it would look like before recommending that approach.

Council member Bill Lopez, who resides in Porter Cove, said he sees this as a collaborative opportunity with the residents.

From the floor, resident Corrine Peffers encouraged Council members to view Lakeland Park in Burns Harbor which was able to install new equipment costing about $100,000.

 

Posted 8/23/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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