Starke County Council Creates Fund for Park Donations

You can now make a donation to the Starke County Park Board. While the park board oversees a few different facilities, including the Bass Lake Beach and Campground and the Starke County Forest, it does not have a dedicated funding source from the county government. However, the county council last week created a “special non-reverting park and recreation fund,” designed to let the park board accept “gifts, donations, and subsidies.”

The Bass Lake Beach and Campground and the Starke County Forest are designed to be self-sufficient. But when it comes to obtaining grant funds for additional improvements, the park board hasn’t had much success.

The Starke County Park Board became eligible to apply for grants earlier this year, with the completion of its five-year plan. But the board failed to put together applications in time to apply for either a Land and Water Conservation grant or a Place Based Investment grant.

Park Board President Debbie Mix was asked about the board’s progress last week by County Commissioner Kathy Norem. “Truthfully, I kind of view that as one of your main jobs, is to find the money,” Norem said.

“I know, you’ve told me,” Mix replied. “And it’s a matter of getting the other board members to be a part of that because it’s not just the one person.”

During last week’s commissioners meeting, Mix and Carolla Heilstedt gave an update on the park board’s efforts to apply for a crowdgranting opportunity to help build a kayak launch on the Yellow River. Commissioner Donnie Binkley suggested that the park board also look at potential grants from NIPSCO or Kankakee Valley REMC.