LaGrange County Council members made it official at Monday’s meeting – Dallas Lake Park will be expanded. The park, which now contains some 96 acres, will be expanded to include 44 additional acres. The vote to approve was unanimous.
The addition will encompass all of Pond Lil. About half of the native wetland area is now a part of the park and the addition will encompass the entire wetland. To date nine species of rare plant life have been identified in the area.
County Parks Superintendent Mike Metz explained to the council that the addition of the land will not cause any significant increase in personnel to maintain the area. There will not be any area to mow as the land that is not a wetland will be seeded to a native prairie grass.
“We’re not asking for any money, we are simply asking for permission to acquire the land,” Metz said.
The land will be acquired through the LaGrange County Community Foundation, which has signed an offer to purchase the land at $323,000. When the parks dept. has gathered up the money, the land will be transferred to the county. To date Metz has a grant from the Bicentennial Nature Trust of $165,375; commitment from the Heritage Trust of about $100,000; LaGrange County Community Foundation of $25,000; and other nearly committed funds of $41,000. “We feel confident we can bring the funding for this project together,” Metz stated.
Commissioner Larry Miller praised Metz for his dedication to the parks system in LaGrange County and his success in raising grant funds. Commissioner Garry Heller noted the public uses the walking trails at Pine Knob Park extensively. “I’m sure they will use the new trails at Dallas Lake Park,” he said.
Council also approved a personnel handbook change that forbids smoking within 25 ft. of any county-owned facility.
Commissioner George Bachman reported to council that the Shipshewana Lake Sewer project is expected to be done by late this fall. “There is still resistance to the project, but the plan is moving forward,” he said.