The ongoing task of moving the Porter County Animal Shelter to a larger,
more accessible location may take off as the County Board of Commissioners
announced its intentions to approach the Porter County Parks Foundation
requesting that it consider donating a block of land at Sunset Hill Farm
County Park to build a new shelter.
Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, said the Commissioners have been
looking at possible locations for a new shelter and after discussing the
matter with different groups and individuals, many agreed the best place to
put it was in the middle of the county where it would be easier for people
“The bulk of people we talked to agree the shelter should be centrally
located in Porter County,” said Evans.
Sunset Hill Farm, the county’s largest and oldest park, sits on 235 acres on
the southeast corner of U.S. 6 and Meridian Rd., in Liberty Twp. The current
Shelter is at 2056 N. 50 W. a mile south of Valparaiso near Ind. 2.
Evans said the Commissioners wish to speak with the Porter County Parks
Foundation at the Foundation’s next meeting and also with Rich Hudson,
president of the County Parks and Recreation Board. The park board is
separate from the Foundation, a non-profit organization which helps collect
donations for the parks department.
While most of the Sunset Hill Farm property is under the ownership of the
County Parks and Recreation board, the Parks Foundation still retains a
15-acre parcel in the park’s northwest corner, where Meridian and U.S. 6
County Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, said she believes it to be
a good location since that intersection sees large amounts of traffic. The
new shelter would be built on 3-4 acres, she estimated.
Hudson, who sat in the audience during the meeting, said he does not belong
to the Foundation but fellow park board member Ruth Jarnecke has membership
and serves as the park board’s liaison to the Foundation. He suggested the
Commissioners attend the next park board meeting on Sept. 5 “to get things
rolling” with the Foundation.
Speaking as president of the park board, Hudson said he believes relocating
the shelter to Sunset Hill Farm has potential to benefit the parks by
attracting more users.
“I don’t know what others would think but to me it seems like a good fit,”
he told the Chesterton Tribune.
The presence of the new animal shelter could fuel plans for new amenities at
Sunset Hill Farm and the Raise the Barn activity center, Hudson added.
For a while, the Commissioners had considered building the new shelter on a
five-acre parcel owned by the County at the intersection of Ind. 130 and
Ind. 149, anticipating a public/private partnership with Lakeshore PAWS pet
Lakeshore PAWS dropped out earlier this year to move in a different
direction and the Commissioners have since taken the project on.
In April, Evans said he planned to talk to the County Council about
allocating $1.5 million in hospital interest funds toward a new shelter but
the Council has not yet voted on the matter.
Blaney said an anonymous donor is still willing to put forth a significant
contribution towards the construction.