Sunset Hill isn't right site for new animal shelter

2013-09-26T00:00:00Z Sunset Hill isn't right site for new animal shelter nwitimes.com
September 26, 2013 12:00 am

I support the need for a new Porter County animal shelter. My problem is not with the new shelter, but with the proposed location on U.S. 6, the unnecessary destruction of four or five acres of pristine farm park property, and the loss of one of the most beautiful farm vistas in all of Porter County.

Porter County Parks Superintendent Walter Lenckos reported Sept. 6 that Sunset Hill Farm Park is doing very well, rentals are up and the summer camp and other programs are very successful and well attended.

The Sunset Hill brand is strong. It is a tranquil, authentic, welcoming, expansive natural preserve of woodlands, wetlands, crops, grasslands, hidden ponds, woodland glens, wildflowers, birds of all types and a variety of woodland creatures. Meandering trails provide relaxation, exercise and a break from the anxieties and stress of work life for families and individuals of all ages.

The addition of the animal shelter to the northern boundary of the park would destroy the view of the open cropland and prairies for visitors to festivals. It would destroy a beautiful cross-country path and a very popular walking trail used by hundreds of Porter County residents on a regular basis. It would disrupt or destroy the planting and harvesting of crops by the Northern Historical Power Association.

Perhaps worst of all, for the park, would be the loss of its brand. No longer a peaceful natural refuge, it would become a combination animal shelter and park.

Building an animal shelter there would not enhance the public’s desire to use the park, especially the current gazebo and the proposed event barn, which would be in view of the animal shelter.

As someone who drives back and forth on U.S. 6 at least twice each day between Meridian Road and Ind. 49, I am also deeply concerned about the proposed addition of a shelter driveway onto U.S. 6. It would dangerously slow or interrupt traffic, causing backups and accidents on what is already a very busy and dangerous two-lane roadway. 

The U.S. 6 location would also be a potential hardship for the animals recovering from abuse, neglect and abandonment that need fresh air and a quiet environment. U.S. 6 is a major route for ambulances, police chases, fire engines and noisy medevac helicopters. Fireworks are a popular feature at Sunset Hill festivals and special events. While beautiful and exciting, they are also very loud and an alarming disturbance for most dogs.

I ask for your support in defeating the proposal to locate the new shelter at the proposed site on U.S. 6 on the northern boundary of Sunset Hill Farm Park.

Write letters to the Park Board and attend future county meetings that will consider the location for the animal shelter.

Please consider recommending placing the shelter in a more appropriate and less destructive location, such as the county property at the corner of Ind. 149 and Ind. 130.

Jane Walsh-Brown lives near Sunset Hill Farm County Park. The opinions are the writer's.

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