SOUTH HAVEN | Big improvements continue in this community, which is said to be among the largest unincorporated areas in the state.
Among the more noticeable efforts was installation of new playground equipment by the Portage Township trustee's office at Haven Hollow Park along County Road 700 North and Field of Dreams park on McCool Road.
The former equipment was 35 to 40 years old and in poor shape, said Township Trustee Brendan Clancy.
The township also formed the community's first park board and park foundation last year, he said. The group already has secured grant money to devise a master plan and is preapproved for a grant to repair a fishing pier along Salt Creek at Haven Hollow.
"It just seemed like common sense to go after free money," Clancy said.
Plans also are for park shelters, trails and a children's play fountain, he said.
South Haven resident and Porter County Councilman Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, said he is impressed with the park improvements.
"The trustee is doing a great job changing the face of the parks," he said.
Porter County Commissioner John Evans said he is continuing an effort to install $60,000 to $70,000 worth of sidewalks in the community each year.
The installation began at the schools and built out from there, he said. The community had no sidewalks before the effort began several years ago.
The county also is continuing preliminary work on what is expected to be a multimillion dollar project to improve the stormwater system under the area of old South Haven, which is bounded by U.S. 6 to the north, 700 North to the south, Ind. 149 to the east and McCool Road to the west, Rivas said.
Rivas hopes the county follows through by appropriating a few million dollars for the actual repair work.
As for public safety, Clancy said the township is purchasing a new firetruck for the South Haven Fire Department and is implementing a program aimed at having the funds available when future vehicles need to be replaced.
The fire department also began receiving more money from the county this year to provide ambulance service, Evans, R-North, said. South Haven's annual subsidy was increased from $25,000 to $40,000.
The county also was to study the U.S. 6 corridor before seeking grant money to fund any recommended improvements. The timing coincided with the state project that widened the road and added sidewalks.