A new silo-themed program center at Sunset Hill Farm County Park has officially started construction. The 700 square-foot building, which pays homage to the history of Sunset Hill as a former farm, will provide space for additional programming as well as venue rentals. The decision to construct the silo was prompted by increases in program attendance and the need for a larger indoor venue at the park.
Despite earlier approval from both the Porter County Parks Foundation and the park department’s board of directors, construction on the building paused over the summer because of the many park activities. “Now that summer camp and our music festivals are over, it’s full steam ahead,” said Parks superintendent Walter Lenckos. “We also just received our final design release from the state, so visitors will now see construction when they come to the park.”
The Silo at Sunset Hill has been a cooperative effort of not just the park board and park foundation, but also elected officials, the Porter County Council, the Porter County Commissioners, and numerous donors. The project’s building committee, which meets every Wednesday, is comprised of Drew Armstrong, chair and park board member; Dr. Larry McAfee, park board member; Mike Haller, building commissioner; David Nevill, foundation member; Owen Brown, foundation member; Matt Brown, Parks horticulturist and property manager; and Nichole Schaefer-Murray, Parks program director.
“We have to thank our donors – they’re what really made this entire project possible. Because of their generosity, the community can enjoy this new building and the history of Sunset Hill Farm continues in a modern context,” said Lenckos. Donors for the project include Paul Von Tobel, Wyckoff Hybrids, Inc., Praxair, Enbridge, Northern Indiana Historical Power Association, Cargill – Burns Harbor, Valparaiso First Insurance, Tina Nevill, Mark and Annette Ritzi, James and Sharon Kish, Chuck Hardesty, David and Barbara Ransom, Tom Sanders, Porter County Parks Foundation, Land and Water Conservation Fund, Dr. Patrick Bankston, Dr. Larry McAfee, Greg Ward and Swartz Retson, Wal-Mart, David Hollenbeck, Porter County Community Foundation, Chester Inc., Anderson Foundation, ArcelorMittal, and 1st Source Bank.
As to when construction will be complete, Lenckos said the original timeline is slated just before the park department’s annual Winter Lights festival in November. “If we can have the building ready for Winter Lights, it will take that festival to the next level, because we could utilize an indoor space for some of that event.”
More information about the Silo at Sunset Hill can be found on the Porter County Parks and Recreation website at www.portercountyparks.org/parks-projects. The Wednesday building committee meetings are held at 10am at the Porter County Parks and Recreation offices at 155 Indiana Ave. in Valparaiso. The meetings are open to the public.
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