It’s been known
simply as the “South County Park” for months but it now has a proper name.
The Porter County
Parks and Recreation Board adopted the name Aukiki (pronounced ah-kee-kee)
Park on Thursday recommended by the steering committee and originally
proposed by Morgan Township sixth grader Jackie Osborne.
Park board member
Craig Kenworthy said students from the south part of the county got to make
suggestions as part of a contest. Other nominations were Foster Field,
Noland Park, Playkeekee Park and Yellow Ridge Park.
Aukiki stems from a
Native American word meaning the Kankakee River.
Osborne said in her
letter to the committee that naming the park Aukiki will draw attention to
the festival of the same name held at the Collier Lodge each August which
may help restore the lodge at a faster pace. “Naming the park Aukiki Park
will allow this generation and future generations to reconnect with, explore
and learn from our past,” Osbourne’s letter said.
Aukiki Park was
acquired by the parks department late last year, a 63.5 acre parcel on the
southwest corner of CR 650S and Ind. 49 in Pleasant Twp., about a mile north
Park plans call for
both active and natural features. A system of walking trails of over 2.5
miles is included.
Parks Planner Ray
Joseph presented new drawings showing four softball/baseball fields, two
full-sized baseball fields and one field for practicing, six standard soccer
fields and one practice field. A “traditional” playground and an ice skating
rink in the winter are also planned.
Joseph said the
steering committee would like to add wetlands for controlling water quality
with natural plant species. “We want to make the park as green as possible,”
According to the
plans, there will be a public access point on Ind. 49 with three other
points that could be accessed by pedestrians. The maximum capacity for
parking would be approximately 644 cars, 211 will be on paved surface while
the rest would be temporary parking on the grassy practice fields.
The park does not
yet have a funding plan, but if all goes well, construction could start
within the next year, Joseph said.
resides in Morgan Twp., predicted Aukiki Park “will pull people from
different places” including outside Porter County with its ability to host
tournament sports. He lauded Joseph, staff and volunteers who participated
in the planning.
From the audience,
parks supporter Charlotte Read said she believes “a closer look” should be
taken to find other areas in the south part of the county for natural