The Porter Park Board, in cooperation with Bud’s Buddies, is planning three
Ravinia-style concerts this summer when picnicking on the grounds of
Hawthorne Park will be encouraged.
For those who don’t have time to pack a snack, vendors will be available in
the park offering refreshments. Sponsorships to help finance the concert
nights will be available.
The June concert is provided through Westchester Public Library’s summer
music series; entertainment for Porter’s own concerts in July and August
will be assembled by area music professional Robert Vodnoy. Opening acts
will be part of the performances.
Park Board president Rondi Wightman said at Tuesday’s meeting, “We have some
great developing ideas.” The Duneland Ballroom group hopes to give dance
lessons on concert nights as well. “It’s amazing how this can grow,” said
Wightman, who emphasized the atmosphere will be family-friendly.
Another event this summer on June 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. is a kids’ summer
party featuring interactive presentations by Town of Porter police, fire and
Firefighters will have a dive tank to demonstrate those skills as well as
car extrication techniques and fire safety. Water safety including pools and
bathtubs will be explained. Police will make child ID cards and help
younsters feel comfortable in the presence of uniformed officers.
Member Patty Raffin reported plans are moving along well for the tri-town
Family 4th Fest celebrating Independence Day at Hawthorne. Popular
activities will return from last year like a parade, bingo and children’s
activities; added will be a patrons’ tour behind the scenes of the
Judy Gregurich of the Chesterton Art Center won unanimous board permission
Tuesday to have Hawthorne Park host the 54th annual Chesterton Art Fair Aug.
4 and 5. A reduced rental rate of $1,000 for both days was approved.
Memorial on the
Park superintendent Jim Miller said Bill Schaudt has proposed updating
Hawthorne’s military memorial to include veterans of the Iraq and
Raffin said when Hawthorne’s new master plan is prepared to include a 2013
hike/bike trail link and a drainage improvement project there, a better look
at the park grounds for future needs can take place.
That might include relocating the war memorial, now in a grassy triangular
island in front of the community building, to a planned memorial garden
area. Doing so would allow reconfiguration of the current circular public
Raffin asked park administrator Stephanie Miller if the vacant downstairs
space at the community building were remodeled to add a kitchen and
restroom, would it likely be rented to generate more income. Miller said
yes, but additional parking would be needed.
“We’re ahead of last year at this time” Miller told the board when giving
her income/reservations report. “May starts getting busy, but June starts
crazy busy until the end of August.”
She said the March 31 Easter Egg Hunt drew 350 people to Hawthorne after
Reprographic Arts Inc. donated 1,000 flyers and a yard sign. Others donating
to the popular event were Chesterton Jewel/Osco, 90 dozen plastic eggs;
Chesterton WiseWay, $25 in-store gift certificate; Valparaiso Starbucks, hot
chocolate; and Park Board member Nikki Crist, six Disney prizes for special
Also, Rob Pomeroy for arranging a visit by the Easter bunny; Duneland
Seniors, filling the eggs with candy and serving refreshments after the
hunt; Lakeshore Drifters 4H Club, hiding the eggs and providing crowd
control before the hunt began; and volunteers Debbie Bowen and Jack Kashak.
Wightman said because of the generous donations and volunteers, it’s
phenomenal the park’s expenses were limited to only $288.85. Next year’s Egg
Hunt will include a time for handicapped participants.
A thank you also was given to Jennnifer Hayden for purchasing and planting
native flowers around the disc golf course.
Boy Scout Joseph McHugh, of Portage and Chesterton/Porter Troop 928, won
Park Board approval to continue his Eagle Scout project to design and
install an observation deck near the Little Calumet River wetlands north of
Hawthorne. McHugh said the Army Corps of Engineers confirmed no special
permit is needed.
McHugh was thanked for his interest in the park. Raffin said the board wants
to approve the final plans, which Wightman said will have to be submitted to
the town building commissioner for review.
For some time John Beckman has been organizing volunteers to clear and renew
the wetlands area. Jim Miller said of McHugh’s deck location, “It’s a great
spot, a good opening. A great view.”
In other business, Miller said this month’s Rebuilding Together Duneland
work day will provide 30 volunteers to do a number of maintenance projects
at Duneland Cove and Hawthorne parks. He also noted a renovation of the
Hawthorne ballfield concession stand continues.
Wightman said the Duneland Seniors group that meets at the community
building is going strong with several projects planned and an average 45-70
seniors attending. The group made new bean bags for the park’s bag-toss
Voting 4-0 the Park Board amended its 2012 salary schedule to revise the way
Stephanie Miller is paid. She had been a salaried part-time employee earning
$17,581 per year. She now will be a part-time employee paid $13.52 per hour
effective April 22.
Crist announced April 30 through May 4 the Porter Parks office will have
limited hours for the public to conduct business.