Friends of Robinson Lake ask Hobart to protect park
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent August 22, 2013 11:28PM
Updated: September 24, 2013 6:28AM
HOBART — Fearing a sale of the former St. Sava property could be in the works, the Friends of Robinson Lake Park this week asked both the City Council and Park Board for a buffer on the northern border between the park and the former church property.
Friends’ Chairwoman Sandy O’Brien said the strip of property that would encompass the border would include some of the ancient oak trees that are currently part of the 40-acre former St. Sava site.
She said she’d hate to see the trees razed to make way for a development.
Mayor Brian Snedecor said the city could request whomever develops the property to dedicate a nature walking trail where the property connects to the park.
“I have tried to encourage any interested parties of the importance of being able to connect all properties in that area with a nature trail,” Snedecor said during the Park Board meeting.
But the mayor added he would not want to dictate to a private owner what they can do on their own land.
Sergio Mendoza, a member of the Park Board and city’s Plan Commission, said the matter can be addressed at the Plan Commission level if new owners seek a site plan review and as part of the park department’s five-year master plan.
Parks Superintendent John Mitchell said he’d like to know who is buying the property and how they plan to develop it before making any decision on a buffer.
“They may not touch the trees. I don’t want to spend money if I don’t need to,” Mitchell said.
O’Brien said some survey work has been done at the property on Liverpool Road, leading her to believe there is an interested party.
“Someone’s interested enough to do a survey of the site,” she said.
Aaron McDermott, founder and president of Latitude Commercial real estate in Schererville, the listing agent for the property, was out of the office and could not be reached for comment.
The property is listed at $795,000 and is described as an ideal site for assisted living or senior housing projects.
It is located just north of Robinson Lake Park, which is considered an important part of the Hobart Marsh Plan.
The Friends of Robinson Lake Park also encouraged the city to move forward with the corridor on the Hobart Marsh Plan drawing that connects Robinson Lake Park to 49th Avenue.
Snedecor said the city is still looking for a new city planner who will take on that project.
“I want it to be the right person,” Snedecor said.