Cedar Lake park group gets official status
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent February 2, 2013 3:49PM
Updated: March 5, 2013 6:20AM
CEDAR LAKE — The fledgling Cedar Lake Park Foundation Inc. has received the official nod so it can now begin raising money for park projects.
Town Attorney David Austgen said the foundation received within the past week the certification notice from the IRS that its 509(a)(3) nonprofit status has been granted.
“This means that the fundraising can take place with the notation and reminder to donors (the foundation) is a tax exempt entity,” he said.
A 509(a)(3) designation is a close cousin to the more common 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status and is used in a public entity format. Austgen said the foundation was modeled off similar entities in Porter County and is like the Schererville Park Foundation he also was involved in setting up.
Ian Nicolini, town manager, said the town began the process of creating the foundation in early 2012 and has been waiting for the approval from the IRS to make its way through the system.
In May town council members appointed the first seven-member foundation board. Board members are Jared Tomich, president; Connie Sterkowitz, vice president; Collette Nicolini, secretary; Sandy Bapple, treasurer; and members Tom Devine, Dr. Terry McDermott and William “Bill” Wellman.
“The board has recently adopted bylaws and a mission statement and is completing the visions statement and strategic plan for the organization,” Nicolini said.
In March 2011 the Cedar Lake Town Council disbanded the town’s Park Board and established a park committee of town council members. One of the early goals of the committee was to create the foundation.
Three of the former Park Board members sued the town in April 2011 alleging they were illegally removed from their posts.
In July a judge ruled in favor of the park board members, reinstating the board. However the town filed an appeal and an injunction is now in place preventing the park board from meeting until the appeal is heard.