Chesterton Tribune



Sunset Hill Park children's center will be ready for Spring Out Festival

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The Horton Children’s Center at Sunset Hill Farm County Park is on track to be ready for summer camps and the Spring Out to Sunset Festival.

Parks Superintendent Walter Lenckos gave updates on the status of the new grain bin-shaped activity center currently under construction at Thursday’s meeting of the County Park Board.

Lenckos said the grain bin, named after generous donors the Horton family, will be complete by the end of May. Some landscaping work could be delayed for weather, but the building and its adjoining bathrooms will be functional and ready for the public eye on May 18.

The Spring Out to Sunset festival is Saturday, May 18 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will be followed by a 4 p.m. concert featuring blues musician and son of blues legend Muddy Waters, Joseph “Mojo” Morganfield.

Lenckos said entrance to Spring Out is $5 per car. Those attending only the concert won’t have to pay the entrance fee. Tickets to the concert are $10 each.

Lenckos also reported that summer camps are nearly half-full, and the new building will have plenty of room for 2019 campers’ use. Board member Drew Armstrong was glad to hear the new building won’t be too cluttered. It will have storage, but about 75 percent of it will be open space.

Lenckos said now that there’s more space available, the program center will host mostly art-focused activities, and activities in the new building will be more STEM-focused.

“I think its excellent that we’ll be able to get Camp Funset in there,” Armstrong said, noting that the Department no longer has to use the Northwest Indiana Historical Power Association (NIHPA) shop.

Aukiki Park

Lenckos announced that the Department has an application in for grant funding for planting native species to facilitate drainage at Aukiki Park.

Applying for this funding is the first step toward developing Aukiki, a 63.5-acre park property at the corner of C.R. 650S and Ind. 49 in Pleasant Township that the Board acquired in 2013.

“I’m really pleased with that and very appreciative of the County’s grant writer and her expertise and time,” Lenckos said.

Lenckos said the planting would be in line with the Park Department’s plan for Aukiki. “Part of our plan calls for a significant detention area on the southwest corner of the property.”

“We applied for funding, and we’ll see if we can’t start working on that south edge of the naturalized property there,” Lenckos said.

According to Lenckos, there have been concerns that the property sheet drains directly to the south, and creating a “naturalized buffer area” of native plants and flora should slow down the water. The Department used a similar strategy in developing Brookdale Park.

Lenckos said the funding will cover the cost of a section approximately 50 feet wide and 1,000 feet long, if awarded. The section could be situated along the west side of a planned detention pond.

Brincka-Cross Acquisition

In June 2018, Lenckos got word that a property owner was interested in selling 35-acres of adjoining property northeast of Brincka-Cross Gardens to the Park Department.

Such an acquisition would increase the size of Brincka-Cross Gardens by nearly 40 percent.

Lenckos reported the Department appears to be moving forward with the acquisition, which, like the grain-bin project was, would be funded through grants and donations and use no taxpayer money.

Staff Report

Lenckos made a reminder that all dogs must be leashed at County parks. “All parks are leashed facilities,” Lenckos said. “If your dogs are not on a leash and you get caught by someone with a badge, they have a right to ticket you, including Conservation Officers.”

Parking at Brookdale Park has been limited to the gravel entrance strip of the grass parking area due to several vehicles getting stuck in the mud recently. The muddy area has been roped off and the boundary marked with flags.

New signs, trail markers, and maps at the County parks are up and have been getting positive feedback, according to Parks PR Coordinator Brooke Allen.

The public can now access past and current Park Board meeting agendas and minutes on the Parks website.


Posted 4/10/2019




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