Starke County Council Tables Park Board Consideration

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Council members want more information about costs associated with setting up a park board before agreeing to do so. Tony Radkiewicz chairs the county park board committee, which was set up to gather information. Their proposed mission statement indicates there will not be a cost to the county to provide oversight to Bass Lake Beach and Campground, the Starke County Forest and other publicly dedicated lands not under municipal control. The board would be comprised of volunteer members with a personal interest in parks and recreation and a desire to be proactive in service to the community.

Radkiewicz adds funding sources are limited and says any news ones must first be approved by the council. These include user fees or proceeds from a property tax levy, which would require council approval. Right now the Bass Lake Beach and Campground are the only county-owned properties that generate revenue. The county’s lease with manager Richard Callahan allows those funds to be used for capital improvements to the properties. Auditor Kay Chaffins says the county has gotten a miniscule amount of money from that arrangement. County attorney Marty Lucas says some departments within the county, like the sheriff’s department, are required to provide services like inmate housing. He says the council is obligated by law to provide them money to do so but doesn’t believe that’s true of a park board.

Several members of the public spoke in favor of setting up a park board to provide greater oversight to the beach and other amenities. The council tabled final action to make sure they will not be financially obligated.

Click Starke County Park Board Proposed Mission Statement for more information.