Volume 10 - A Beautiful Community

posted Oct 4, 2016, 3:45 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Oct 20, 2017, 10:52 AM ]
During the spring and summer months, both children and adults love to enjoy the beautiful parks in Starke County, including the Field of Dreams in Koontz Lake, the Wythogan Park and Skate Park in Knox, the San Pierre Park, and the North Judson Town Park. The flowers bloom and the grass is green at Norwayne Field and alongside the Erie Trail.  During the autumn and winter months, these areas are painted hues of gold, crimson red, and burnt orange, or blanketed in snow.

We at the Starke County Community Foundation (SCCF) believe that parks are lovely additions to any area, and it is important that these beautiful assets to the community are well cared for. That is why we include “Parks and Recreation” as a pillar of giving. Throughout the years, we have helped to support the parks and recreational areas in Starke County in order for community residents of all ages to be able to experience the joy these outdoor areas bring.

As early as 2000, the SCCF supported the Koontz Lake Lions Club with an $83,000 grant for the development of the community softball field, “Field of Dreams,” and the renovation of the existing club house. The Lions Club received two additional grants, enabling the purchase of a slide and an official box/concession stand for the ball park. The grants were administered by Arrow Head Country Resource Conservation and Development Area, Inc.

Entrance to the Wythogan Park in Knox

Ball parks are fun places in the community for residents to gather and cheer on local youth. The North Judson Area Little League was assisted with their field revitalization in 2006. Upgrading the Little League fields helped the park to meet current safety and Little League requirements. Field enhancements made the fields more enjoyable for all of the players, umpires, coaches, and attendees of the games.

Grants have also gone to the Prairie Trails Club for purchasing stone for the North Judson Erie Trail and for supplies for the trail. The crushed stone was spread over two miles, starting at Main Street in North Judson. Much of the North Judson Erie Trail is elevated, offering an excellent view of the natural landscape of the Kankakee sand country. The level rail bed makes for easy hiking and cycling. The Trail is part of the transcontinental American Discovery Trail, extending from the Atlantic Ocean in Delaware to the Pacific Coast at Point Reyes in northern California.

North Judson Norwayne Field

The North Judson Town Park is another recreational area in Starke County. The SCCF has provided assistance for its landscaping and beautification. Additionally, grant dollars helped to fund enhancements to North Judson Norwayne Field. Norwayne Field’s winding sidewalks and old-fashioned street lamps make it a beautiful place to visit. The amphitheater seats about 1,000 people, which is particularly useful during the town’s annual Mint Festival.

In Knox, the Friends of the Park Association received grants to help fund the Wythogan Skate/Bike Park. A portion of the funding was used to purchase “skatelite” material to make the park weather resistant and safer for riders.

Parks and recreational areas help to make our community enjoyable through every season. They offer a gathering place for community members, and their beautification of our towns adds a sense of pride in our community. Some organizations that work with the area parks have also established funds with the SCCF. These funds, as well as SCCF grants, ensure that all members of the community have a beautiful, natural place to enjoy in Starke County. 

SCCF interns enjoying the North Judson Erie Trail