Residents of Porter
Cove hungry to give their children a place to play said Tuesday that
rehabbing the park containing Kids Cove at the southwest corner of their
neighborhood will raise property values.
Blake Lange, who is
leading the effort by Porter Cove residents to raise money to renovate the
park, returned to the Porter Town Council with ideas on how to seek
corporate sponsorships and private donations. He presented the Council with
a flier on ways to help the residents reach their goal of $250,000.
“Porter Cove is
working with the Town of Porter to build a premier park for the children of
Northwest Indiana. The park will host children of all ages,” the flier said.
proposed include a platinum level of $100,000 that offered naming rights of
the park. Other incentives included plaques to be put on playground
equipment, business logos to be put on event posters and dinner with the
President Greg Stinson asked Lange if he the thought $100,000 was a
realistic amount to ask for a neighborhood park in a corner of town that
doesn’t receive much traffic other than the people who live there, saying it
would be difficult even for Hawthorne Park.
“My rebuttal to
that is, ‘What if we do (get that donation)?’”, Lange said.
Lange said that
Porter Cove is home to 267 homes and about one-fourth of the Town’s
population. He referenced a study done by the National Parks Foundation that
showed properties within proximity of a park have a 20 percent increase in
property values. A 20 percent incremental value on the 267 homes in Porter
Cove could mean about $90,000 more in annual property tax revenue, based on
an average home market value of $175,000.
Lange said he met
with Parks Director Brian Bugajski and saw that there was no inprovement
plan for the park or funds to be raised in the budget for Kids Cove. “That
led us to start a community boot-strapped effort to initiate a new park,” he
have been made recently such as removing old and dangerous equipment.
Besides the flier, residents are also forming efforts to raise funds during
the Porter Perfect Pint event on Saturday, Oct. 14, Lange said.
Stinson raised the
issue of what is legally feasible among the proposals on the flier. For
example, the Town Council could not meet together for a dinner with a donor
because of the Open Door Law, or at least they could not discuss anything
related to business, he said, and there are other issues with using Town
assets in promoting businesses.
Donations for a
Town park would need to processed by the Town and he cautioned that donors
might “go after” the Town if the goal isn’t reached or delayed.
“I think we need to
be careful. It could cause some issues where people might complain,” Stinson
Lange said he
understood Stinson’s points and this was only a matter of brainstorming.
“What we did here is we threw out some ideas. We started from somewhere and
we started from scratch,” he said.
Stinson asked that
Lange meet with Town Council members Erik Wagner, who is liaison for the
parks department, and Ross LeBleu about reworking the language on the flier
and checking with Town Attorney Greg Sobkowski. If it meets with Sobkowski’s
approval, the Council could permit the Porter Cove residents to distribute
the flier at the next Council meeting on Sept. 12.
Bugaski asked if it
would be practical to do a Memorandum of Understanding with residents.
Sobkowski said he would need to see what it would look like before
recommending that approach.
Council member Bill
Lopez, who resides in Porter Cove, said he sees this as a collaborative
opportunity with the residents.
From the floor,
resident Corrine Peffers encouraged Council members to view Lakeland Park in
Burns Harbor which was able to install new equipment costing about $100,000.