Porter County pursues new park land north and south
By James D. WOlf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent February 9, 2013 10:58PM
Updated: March 11, 2013 6:45AM
VALPARAISO — More park land is coming to Porter County in the north and south, but both outcomes remain in negotiations.
In the north, there could be an additional 70 acres added to Brincka Cross Gardens at 427 E. Furness Road.
For south county, the Porter County Park Board is asking for $600,000 from the County Council and Board of Commissioners.
It’s for park land that will likely be athletic fields.
“I’m excited to have some land down there. There’s going to be a lot more people down there in the next 10 years,” Parks and Recreation Superintendent Walter Lenckos said.
Park Board members stressed they haven’t identified land to buy yet, although they’ve mentioned negotiations at earlier meetings.
“If we have the money in hand, we know exactly how much we have to buy with, and we can go from there,” board member Ken Craigworthy said.
Lenckos said when some land is bought, there will be public meetings abouthow it would be used.
“There are a lot of costs in developing athletic fields,” he said.
The Parks Department plans to appear before the County Council on Feb. 26 and the Board of Commissioners on March 5 to make a formal request for $600,000.
County Council member Jim Polarek said most of the council members and commissioners he talked to support funding the project, and funds will likely come from interest money from the sale of Porter hospital.
There has been talk about combining funding requests for the south park and the Brincka Cross expansion, especially with applications for both being made for Lake Michigan Coastal Program federal grants through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
The department has already applied for a Bicentennial Nature Trust grant for the 70 acres northeast of Brincka Cross, and the grant could provide up to $300,000 that the county would need to match, possibly with other grants.
The son of Grant and Frances Smith, the couple who owned the land and died within weeks of each other last year, approached Lenckos in January about making it park land.
Some of the new land could provide needed parking for Brincka Cross.
Park Board President Rich Hudson said there’s no competition for the land as the seller wants it to be part of the park.