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Porter Co. may get land donation

Updated: May 8, 2014 9:44AM



VALPARAISO — The Porter County Parks and Recreation Department may be adding some land.

John Hodson, president and founder of the Kankakee Valley Historical Society, told the park board last week that he owns 150 acres along the Kankakee River, including old-growth forest and restored prairie.

“My dilemma is, what do I do with it?” he said during Thursday’s board meeting.

That question has led Hodson and his wife, Mary, to have preliminary talks with department Superintendent Walter Lenckos regarding donating the land to the county.

The park board gave its blessing to the idea. Lenckos said he and board attorney David Hollenbeck hope to reach agreement with the Hodsons, adding that having property on the river has been a goal of the parks department.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing for all of us,” board member Annetta Jones said.

Hodson said he has talked to the Nature Conservancy and other conservation groups about taking over the land in Pleasant Township near Kouts, but nothing panned out.

“It really comes down to management,” he said, adding that the parks department could partner on the work the historical society is doing — including restoring Collier Lodge, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and rebuilding Linden Cabin, formerly in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which the society acquired last year.

“We want this (land) to be preserved and open to the public,” Mary Hodson said.

In another matter Thursday, the park board indicated that plans are proceeding for 1.6 miles of walking and running trails at Brincka Cross Gardens.

Challenges in the project, which is being partially funded with a Lake Michigan Coastal Program grant, include planning the path around the trees and plants in the gardens and meeting federal requirements for access by the disabled, park planner Ray Joseph said.



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