The proposed Yellow River access site at Range Road has missed the boat for a Place Based Investment grant. Now, the Starke County Park Board may turn to crowdgranting, to keep the project alive.
The park board planned to pursue a Place Based Investment grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development. However, coming up with the local share of the match proved to be a bit of a challenge. Carolla Heilstedt, who’s been coordinating the project, said she literally worked until the last minute trying to line up funding. But that caused her to miss the application deadline.
She told park board members Tuesday there are other options, though. The CreatINg Places grant through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority also helps communities and nonprofit groups raise money for placemaking projects. As part of the program, project organizers set up an online fundraising campaign through Patronicity.com. If the goal is met within a specific amount of time, the project is eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match from the state. The program was successfully used by the Town of Culver recently, to raise money for a new amphitheater.
However, Heilstedt wanted to revisit the project’s plans, before moving forward. While the county already owns the potential Yellow River access site at Range Road, Heilstedt said it would be difficult to build a parking lot there. Since the site is steep and narrow, she said a retaining wall would be required.
As an alternative, Heilstedt suggested that the county look into getting another piece of land nearby for a parking lot, while the existing property would be used for the kayak launch itself. Board member Roger Chaffins agreed to contact a neighboring landowner, to see if any arrangements can be made.
If the Range Road site can’t be used, Heilstedt is also looking into the possibility of putting the access site at State Road 23. She said Dr. Walter Fritz would allow the facility to be built on his property, but he would not be willing to sell the land to the county outright.