The southern half of Porter County will have another voice on the county’s
Park and Recreation board, which welcomed newcomer Craig Kenworthy of Morgan
Kenworthy was appointed by the county council just moments before the park
board met on Thursday night, filling the seat previously held by Chesterton
resident Jim Perkins.
A native to southern Porter County, Kenworthy has a background in
construction and mechanical contracting and is a coach for the Morgan Twp.
Little League. He told the Chesterton Tribune he was interested in
the board position to help find areas in south county suitable for potential
park development, improving the quality of life for residents, especially
“Obesity is the number one cause of heart disease and other (health)
problems,” said Kenworthy, who would like to see more recreational fields
and believes his expertise in planning will be an asset to the board.
Board member Rich Hudson will lead the group again as president for the
year. Assuming the duty of vice-president is board member Rebecca Tomerlin.
Attorney David Hollenbeck will be retained as the board’s legal counsel.
Getting down to business, Parks Superintendent Walter Lenckos highlighted
the progress of the Raise the Barn project at Sunset Hill Farm, which is
starting to finally make some headway. Lenckos said the pipes for sewer
utilities to Sunset Hill Farm Park from the future hospital nearby are in
and he expects the buildings at the park will have service in about eight
Board members were also e-mailed a draft of the construction agreement for
the barn on Thursday and asked the board to review it in time for its
February meeting when they could vote on it.
The firm in the drafted agreement is Luke Builds, the construction firm of
Luke Oil in Hobart, with a proposal to complete construction, including
architectural design and landscaping, not to exceed a price of $3.5 million.
Lenckos expects the project, which was first proposed over a decade ago,
will get off the ground in the next few months.
Sitting in the audience, Council member Jim Polarek, R-4th, encouraged the
board to use Kenworthy’s expertise in finding the right contractors that
could produce construction jobs for local residents. “We can put some people
to work,” he said.
In another matter, Tomerlin expressed her satisfaction with the landscaping
work done at Brincka Cross Park in Furnessville. The parks department has
been busy removing trees and plants to form more walking trails, as well as
creating more space for parking as more programs are being utilized there.
The parks has called upon the county to expand the parking and Lenckos hopes
the work to be done before this April’s opening of Celebration of Colors,
when visitors can see the plants and flowers in bloom.
In other business:
• Lenckos praised workers for the success of this past season’s Winter
Lights drive-through displays at Sunset Hill Farm. Worker’s estimated close
to 8,600 cars drove though the park to see the displays between mid-November
and early January.
• Bid proposals will go out to farmers interested in utilizing the two park
sites that are currently vacant tillable fields – the 50 or so acres at
Brookdale and the 47 acres at the former prison farm in Pine Twp. Hollenbeck
said he will present the bids at the March meeting.
• Parks Manager Matt Howton will occupy the house at Brookdale, moving from
the residency on CR 700N at the south edge of Sunset Hill Farm which Lenckos
is eyeing for use by parks programmers. He said it is common in the
recreation field to provide temporary housing to employees.
• Parks supporter Herb Read asked the board to consider acquiring a tract of
land between the parks’ Pine Twp. prison farm land and the parcel of land
that will be used by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as a bird
sanctuary. Read hopes the unacquired parcel of land, which borders the
Little Calumet River, can be preserved as well.
• Board member David Canright pointed out to members of the press that
Dunn’s Bridge Park in Pleasant Twp. is still open while contractors continue
repair work on the nearby road bridge over the Kankakee River.
• Lenckos said the parks’ Master Plan Committee will hold a meeting on Jan.
25 at 8 a.m. at the Sunset Hill Farm interpretive center to put finishing
touches on the plan.