The ink is nearly
dry on the Porter County Park Department’s purchase of 46 additional acres
at Brincka-Cross Gardens in Pine Township.
Park Board Attorney
David Hollenbeck told members at their meeting Thursday night that after a
few months of negotiations, the owner of what has been referred to as the
“Smith” property has signed the acquisition papers, as has President Rich
Hudson, and the title is in the process of being transferred.
acres, located north of the existing park, will more than double the size of
The board voted in
November to authorize the sale at a price not to exceed $309,000. An
anonymous benefactor, possibly more than one, is footing nearly the entire
bill at about $300,000, Superintendent Walter Lenckos said.
On a related note,
Lenckos said consultants SEH will in April present the latest drawings on
the 1.6 miles of new trails in the planning stages for Brincka-Cross
Gardens. Part of the trails will traverse the new property, he said.
Development of the
trails will be made mostly with a $150,000 matching grant from the
Department of Natural Resources.
At Sunset Hill
Meanwhile, a number
of projects underway at Sunset Hill Farm County Park are making fine
progress, Lenckos reported. Phase 1 of the three-acre pond and 28-acre
prairie restoration project is on track, which consists of removing invasive
plant species and replacing them with native species. That is also being
funded mostly with outside sources, including a $31,500 matching grant from
the DNR’s Lake Michigan Coastal Program.
Next, Lenckos said
Parks Manager Matt Howton will be collaborating with Porter County Museum of
History Director Kevin Pazour on a small exhibit on the history of Sunset
Hill Farm, from its beginning as one of the biggest dairy operations in the
The exhibit, which
will be featured at the County Museum, will coincide with the 80th
anniversary of Sunset Hill.
Lenckos said the parks department will be hosting a community picnic at
Sunset Hill commemorating the anniversary set tentatively for late July.
president of the Northern Indiana Historical Power Association, said NIHPA
looks to include bits of Sunset Hill Farm history in its museum located on
park property later this year. Misch said he intends to discuss with County
park planner Ray Joseph on where NIHPA can place its museum, possibly in one
of he barns.
It will also
include bits of local history on Porter County and Indiana in general, Misch
this will be a big year for Sunset Hill Farm with weekend rentals exceeding
last year’s numbers. The calendar is nearly full, he said. “We’re going to
be really busy this year, but that’s a good thing.”
from the audience, the board heard parks supporter Herb Read say he would
like to see a community garden at Sunset Hill in addition to the children’s
A vegetable garden
where the public could have a plot of land to grow produce was once a
feature years ago at Chellberg Farm in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore,
Read said. Since Sunset Hill is getting back to its roots with housing
livestock, Read said, having a community garden would add to that.
“Here we have a
farm. Why not have the same program?” said Read who added that the garden
would be a great way the public can get involved with the parks.
Lenckos said he is
not sure where on the property a community garden would be suitable. A
report from the Farm Animal Committee will be delivered during the April
park board meeting.
South County Park
Also, Member Craig
Kenworthy told his colleagues that the 63-acre South County Park on Ind. 49,
north of Kouts, could have roughly 10 acres of grass plantings on it by the
end of spring.
He said he has
spoken with businesses that have expressed interest in lending large
equipment for the development of the park which will cut down some of the
The committee for
the new park has been busy in the planning process, he said.