First, the good news!
Hendricks Road, the main entrance to Buckley Homestead County Park, will be resurfaced this year.
Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub told me Thursday, “Hendricks Road will be done by mid-October.”
Admitting Hendricks is important, Scheub said there are many miles of roads in unincorporated areas of the county requiring attention.
“The schools, police and fire want to make sure we are taking care of the roads they use most,” Scheub said.
He explains each year a list of roads to be paved is prepared. Currently work is being done in a Schererville subdivision.
The biggest problem, according to Scheub, is a lack of county money to maintain county roads.
“It’s the first year for funding (in some time). The (county) council gave me $7 million this year for the roads,” he said. That, he admits is good news for a county constantly struggling with finances.
And that’s easy to believe just by taking a look at how much and how often the county borrows to stay afloat.
The fact fewer and fewer people live in the urban area of the county where in the past property taxes underwrote most of the county budget proves a problem in funding county operations.
So, Scheub says when money is available, he focuses on the main roads first, side roads secondly. Then, too, there are hundreds of miles of roads in sprawling subdivisions throughout south Lake County that must be maintained. “It’s a big job to keep track of its all,” the county commissioner representing the area said.
Scheub letting me know Hendricks will soon be repaved came after last Sunday’s column in which I described the deplorable condition of the road. Where chuckholes had once been, there are now big bumps that must be navigated.
After all, the Buckley Homestead Park is a gem in the county park system. It draws thousands of visitors each year. This year like autumn of years past is big at the park where hayrides and bonfires along with a colorful display of leaves help celebrate the season.
The park is a wonderful example of farm life in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s a lesson for the thousands of school children visiting the farm on field trips.
That’s why I am disappointed with those who prepared this year’s paving list. Hendricks is the main road to the park off Ind. 2 east of Lowell.
Someone in charge at the county highway department should have known how bad Hendricks was. A crew from the department patched seemingly hundreds of chuckholes, creating a half mile road of bumps held together by bits of paving.
I am thankful Scheub responded with a promise the road will soon be paved. I guess the October paving means the road will be ready for cross-country skiers who use the park in the winter. Though long overdue, it’s certain the adage of better late than never applies.
William Nangle is editor emeritus of The Times. The opinions are the writer's.