VALPARAISO | Plans to replace and refurbish the playground at ValPlayso and improve the surrounding park gets underway in earnest Aug. 17 with the second annual Party in the Park fundraiser at the park.
The party, to be held from 7 to 11 p.m., will feature music by The Chris and Lou Band along with food and drink, but the highlight of the evening could be the Valpo Feud battle between the "Big Bad Business" team and the "Not-So-Civil Servants."
Members of the former include The Times Porter County General Manager Deb Anselm, Indiana Beverage executive George Douglas, city Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Stuart Summers, Andy Urschel and financial consultant Karen Vogelsang.
The "Not-So-Civil Servants" will be led by Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas and include Porter County Sheriff David Lain, city Councilwoman Deb Butterfield, Porter County Commissioner Laura Blaney and city Park Board Member Ric Frataccia.
The party is sponsored by the Parks Foundation, which will be leading the effort to raise more than $500,000 for the park improvements, and Urschel Laboratories. In August, the foundation and the park board are expected to approve hiring a consultant to develop the overall park master plan.
In September, a consultant will be hired to design the playground component of the master plan.
"Before the end of the year we will know the costs and have a plan of attack to achieve it, whether to do it in phases or go after all of it at once," Parks Director John Seibert said.
The whole process from planning and design through fundraising is expected to take about a year, so construction can start around the start of school in 2014, Seibert said.
Admission to the party in the park is $75, and the foundation also is looking for sponsorships for the event. More information on the "ValPlayso: Next Generation" can be found at the Party in the Park-Valpo Parks Foundation Facebook page.