La PORTE – The La Porte County Park Department recently got two pieces of good news about Luhr Park – one to keep it natural and the other to add a few improvements.
The Park Department received a land donation of about 15 acres adjacent to Luhr County Park from the La Porte County Park Foundation, Park Superintendent Jeremy Sobecki said in a statement. The land lies along the south border of the park and along CR-150W, just south of La Porte Municipal Airport.
“This addition to Luhr is significant in many ways,” Sobecki said. “The land will be permanently protected from development, adds to the varying wildlife habitat and will allow more trails to be built at Luhr.
“The other beauty of this property is that thanks to the forethought of the Parks Foundation and the Northwest Indiana Chapter of Pheasants Forever, it was planted to native prairie species back in 2015, so it is already established as good quality habitat.”
The donation “is not only great for our park patrons to enjoy, but also a wonderful educational opportunity for our school and public programs,” he said.
The Parks Department also received a $200,000 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Outdoor Recreation.
The grant, along with local matching funds, will allow development of a new paved trail in Luhr Park, add a new picnic shelter, improve parking lots and add a restroom.
While the Park Foundation had owned the 15 acres for five years, the timing of this land donation allows the Park Department to utilize the value of the property as a match to the DNR grant dollars, Sobecki said. This, along with $70,000 from the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte, makes up the majority of the local match needed to complete this project.
“In total, there will be $400,000 worth of improvements to Luhr County Park with construction already underway,” he said. “Without local support from the La Porte County Park Foundation and other partners like the Healthcare Foundation this project would not have been possible.”
Luhr County Park, at 3178S CR-150W, is open from 7 a.m. to sunset daily. Some areas may be closed to public use during construction.