The Starke County Park Board welcomed two new members Tuesday. Attorney Richard Ballard was appointed to the board by Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall, following the resignation of Roger Chaffins. Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler had been appointed by the county council back in January, replacing Debbie Mix. Ballard and Ritzler both took their seats on the park board for the first time Tuesday, during the board’s first official meeting since last September.Continue reading
The North Judson Erie Trail will remain under the control of the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum for the foreseeable future. The Starke County Park Board had approached the museum’s leaders about leasing the trail and operating it as a park facility. County officials hoped the lease would help reduce maintenance costs, increase grant opportunities, and encourage volunteers.
The Starke County Park Board is ready to accept an insurance settlement for damage to the Bass Lake Beach gate house. The structure was seriously damaged when a pickup truck reportedly crashed into it back in November.
Bringing the North Judson Erie Trail under Starke County’s control is something the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum might be willing to consider. The museum owns the trail, but Starke County’s five-year park plan suggests that the county lease it and operate it as a park facility. Starke County Park Board President Roger Chaffins said Tuesday that he spoke with the museum’s president, Cory Bennett, and Bennett seemed open to resuming discussions.
The Starke County Park Board continues to hear from people interested in operating the Bass Lake Beach. The entire beach and campground is currently run by Callahan Development, LLC, which leases it from Starke County. But the company said it may be willing to give up control of the beach itself, to allow it to focus on the profitable campground and pier slots.
The Starke County Forest will get $15,000 worth of improvements this spring, thanks to a grant from the Hardesty Memorial Endowment Fund. The funding was formally presented to the Starke County Park Board Tuesday by Starke County Community Foundation Director of Development Sarah Origer and Northern Indiana Community Foundation Executive Director Jay Albright.
The Starke County Park Board will get updates on some grant applications tonight. The park board has already been awarded $5,000 from the Starke County Community Foundation to help prevent and repair erosion at the Bass Lake Beach. Starke County is also seeking funding from Arrowhead Country Resource Conservation and Development and Kankakee Valley REMC’s Operation Round Up program.
The Starke County Park Board’s proposal to split operations of the Bass Lake Beach and Campground has gotten a response. The entire beach and campground is currently operated by Callahan Development, LLC, which leases it from Starke County. But the company said it may be willing to give up control of the beach itself, to allow it to focus on the profitable campground and pier slots.
The Prairie Trails Club says it’s ready to make improvements to the North Judson Erie Trail, but it might be easier to do if Starke County were formally involved. The trail is owned by the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, but Starke County’s five-year park plan suggests that the county lease it and operate it as a park facility.
The races are set for May’s primary elections. In Starke County, one hotly-contested office is county clerk. Current auditor Kay Chaffins is challenging incumbent Vicki Cooley for the Democratic party nomination. The winner would presumably face Republican Bernadette Welter-Manuel in November’s general election.
The Starke County Park Board has switched presidents. Roger Chaffins was elected board president for 2018, during last week’s meeting. He was nominated by board member Rosemary Rose. She said she thought he did a great job when he served as president in 2016.
Who’s allowed to hunt in the Starke County Forest and who gets to make that decision were topics of discussion during last week’s County Park Board meeting. Forester Bruce Wakeland previously told board members that he typically rents the forest to a group of hunters each year over the Thanksgiving weekend. It’s to help control the deer population, but also to raise a few hundred dollars for the forest.
A lack of action on concrete repairs at the Bass Lake Beach is drawing concerns from some Starke County Park Board members. Back in August, board members asked the operator of the facility, Callahan Development, LLC, to repair the seawall surrounding the beach house patio and install glacial stone to help protect it from incoming waves.
The Bass Lake Beach and Starke County Forest would stand to benefit from some grant opportunities being explored by the Starke County Park Board. A few funding sources were discussed during Tuesday’s meeting.