The Starke County Park Board hopes to bring more visitors to the Yellow River with state grant funding. Carolla Heilstedt plans to coordinate efforts to improve the county’s Yellow River access site at Range Road.
She told the park board Tuesday that the project would involve a new parking lot, a way to get to the riverbank, and a launch for canoes or kayaks. Restrooms could also be added in the future.
County Attorney Marty Lucas noted that the upgrades are already in Starke County’s five-year park plan, and the county already owns the land. “Sometimes, we have a lot of little legal issues, but this one looks pretty clear because not only does the county actually have a deed to the property, fee simple, but the deed specifically says it’s for use as river access,” he said. “So nobody can say that’s any misuse of the property, either. That’s actually a term of the acquisition, so it’s kind of unique. It’s the only one I know of in the county that kind of has that nice clean situation.”
The improvements would accomplish a couple goals. They would make the Yellow River more friendly to out-of-county tourists by making it clear where they can access the river. The Range Road site would also provide a convenient stopping point between Wythogan Park in Knox and the Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area.
To help pay for the upgrades, the Starke County Park Board plans to pursue a Place Based Investment grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development. That grant would require a local match. Potential funding sources include the Starke County Commissioners, the Starke County Economic Development Foundation, and the Starke County Community Foundation.
The grant application is due Friday, July 14.