The Porter County
Park Department will not host the Spring Out to Sunset Festival at Sunset
Hill Farm County Park this year, but some new activities might take its
Superintendent Walter Lenckos said at Thursday’s Park Board meeting that
he’s hoping to hold a host of smaller events that could appeal to a wider
range of visitors instead. Residents should be on the lookout for
announcements for those events--some possibilities include concerts with
brass and string bands or chamber music ensembles, comedy shows, and outdoor
The Park Board
consented in November to not holding a Spring Out Festival in 2020 after
staff recommendations. Lenckos said Spring Out is often plagued with bad
weather. It is also the least attended and least profitable of the
Thursday that he reached out to the Parks Foundation and the Department’s
other community partners to see if anyone else was interested in hosting
Spring Out, but no one bit.
The Kansas City
Barbecue competition that has become part of Spring Out in the last couple
years will still continue. Only sanctioned teams can register for the
competition; however, Lenckos said the Department is looking into making the
event more friendly to the public by organizing an amateur, “backyard’
barbecue contest and “Kids-Q” event where kids can learn some grilling and
food safety basics by cooking with the help of adults.
Lenckos said 2020
has started off well since Parks Staff determined the Department nearly
tripled its revenue goal in 2019. Lenckos attributed this mostly to rentals,
and the work of Events/Rental Coordinator Madison Binkowski. Lenckos also
said the Department opened summer camp registration in January, and summer
camp is already 5% full.
The Winter Lights
Festival and drive-thru lights display was a success, Lenckos said. The
Department brought in its average amount in donations from the drive-thru,
and staff is already contemplating some new additions to the festival next
year, including bounce houses, carnival rides, and ice sculpting.
The program guide
is due out in February. A local vendor will print it, and the Porter County
Library is sharing the printing costs for six pages.
encouraged locals to check out the Parks social media for a partnership
where the Duneland Photography Club is seeking and sharing photos of Porter
David Hollenbeck made a reminder that the County Council changed the
composition of the Board in a resolution passed Oct. 17, 2019. The
resolution, following a change in state law allowing County governments to
change the way park boards are composed and appointed, and changed the
Porter County Park Board from a six-member board to a five-member board.
The Porter County
Board of Commissioners will now appoint two members (who cannot be of the
same political party) to the Park Board instead of one, and a member will be
appointed by the County Auditor. The change took appointing authority for
two seats away from the Porter Circuit Court Judge and did away with the
Board having an ex officio member from the local extension office.
Last week, the
County Council reappointed members Craig Kenworthy and Drew Armstrong. The
Commissioners are slated to make their appointment Tuesday, and County
Auditor Vicki Urbanik has a Jan. 15 deadline to make hers, according to the
Hollenbeck said its
his legal opinion that the Board remains in its current composition until
all new members have been appointed.
IGRS and Croquet
reported the Illiana Garden Railway Society at Sunset Hill hopes to expand
to running trains on Sundays as well as Saturdays. They plan to have two
dates where they run only Thomas trains and one day for circus trains in
attorney for the Northwest Indiana Croquet Association, reported the group
is making progress on cost estimates for the championship croquet courts and
adjacent practice area they have proposed to build at Sunset Hill. The group
will foot the bill for construction and received approval last month to
begin lease negotiations with Hollenebeck.