With the recent
announcement by the Porter County Council to begin discussion on what is to
be done with the interest collected from the Porter Hospital sale, a few
citizens are offering ideas of their own.
A group of
parents recently contacted County Council president Dan Whitten, D-at large,
along with fellow council member Laura Blaney, D-at large, and county
commissioner president Robert Harper, D-Center, to pitch the idea of opening
a sports complex in the vicinity of the Ind. 149 and U.S. 6.
The matter was
also discussed with Porter County Parks Superintendent Walter Lenckos who
said the request was similar to the Brookdale Park project currently being
developed by the Porter County park system.
Park will be located along the west side of Meridian Rd. between county
roads 900N and 950N near Liberty Elementary and Intermediate schools, only a
few miles from the 6 and 149 intersection.
Lenckos said he
would not disclose the identity of the parents, but said they too would like
to see a sports complex for local youth.
different focus and concept of Brookdale where we are seeking out partners
within the county,” said Lenckos.
An e-mail sent
by Lenckos to members of the parks’ Land Acquisition and Development
Committee which is overseeing the development of Brookdale asked those
committee members to consider how this would benefit or challenge the county
Richard Maxey could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Lenckos said the
plans for the additional sports complex are very much in the early stages
and the group has not lined up any firm to help design the facility or done
necessary marketing research.
In terms of
competition, Lenckos said he did not see the additional complex as a
hindrance or a competitor to Brookdale. He sees this as a good opportunity
to create a partnership.
“The idea is
that both properties would complement each other,” he said. “Why duplicate
the effort if you got multiple people working toward the same goal?”
Lenckos said he
anticipates discussing the proposed project at the next Land Acquisition and
Development Committee meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 5 p.m. at the Sunset
Hill Farm County Park Interpretive Center off of Meridian Rd.
Blaney told the
Chesterton Tribune the proponents of the new facility do not
represent a company, but include parents and those with strong interests in
setting up softball and soccer fields for local youth to use. The idea is a
pitch and nothing more for right now, she said.
Blaney said she
believes there is a “huge” need for the sports fields and that there are
good reasons to have both complexes.
Harper said he knows of or has heard numerous requests to build
infrastructure such as sports complexes in different areas of the county,
but hardly any have their plans together far enough to be substantial with
the exception of the Brookdale committee.
He said if a
group wants the county to lend some of the money from the hospital sale to
build these projects, they would need approval from both the county council
and the commissioners.
Harper said he
expects discussions to become more serious in the next year. The county can
tap into the $9 million in interest from the sale, but the $170 million
principle will not be available to them until 2012.
wants to reach out and include the interests of south county residents in
the development of these sports complexes. He said in his discussions with
Kouts Schools officials, there is a strong desire to have good quality
sports complexes available to them for practice and for games.
excited to have these conversations and that people are talking about it,”