The Valpo Parks are reflective of the community's vibrancy and are a bisible symbol of the quality of life in Valparaiso. The Valpo Parks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, exists to support the Valpo Parks Department. The Foundation often serves as a catalyst to bring projects to fruition, capturing the spirit and character of residents working side-by-side to make our community even stronger.
The Valpo Parks Foundation brings people and community resources together to enhance and sustain the highest quality park facilities and programs.
It is our mission to provide opportunities for the community to connect with the Valpo Parks to support the continuing legacy of high quality experiences provided by the Parks Department.
The Parks We've Helped Fund:
- Central Park Plaza
- Foundation Meadows
- Butterfly Meadow & Caterpillar Crossing
- Service Memorial-Veterans and Volunteers Plaza
- Tower Park
The Projects We've Supported:
- Lakewood Link
- Flounder Skate Park at Rogers-Lakewood
The Experiences We've Developed:
- Creekside Golf Course & Training Center
The Horizons We're Expanding:
- Open Space Property Donations
- Future Park & Pathway Opportunities
- August 17 - First meeting
- Board composed of 5 at-large and 4 Park Board members
- Valparaiso Street property acquired in agreement with Schools
- Dinner Dance held as first major fundraiser
- Valparaiso Street property sale yields $100,000
- September 30 - First Sunday in the Park
- Board composed of 7 at-large and 2 Park Board members
- Foundation leads negotiations for Johnson property
- Newsletter and logo format developed
- Mission and Vision Statements established
- Johnson property purchased
- Bill Alexa leads effort for $280,000 grant for Lakewood Link
- Board expanded to 9 at-large and 2 Park Board members
- Discussions begin on Valplayso
- Foundation video developed as marketing tool
- Valplayso funded, developed and opened
- Board expanded to 10 at-large and 2 Park Board members
- 50-Year Park Board Anniversary
- First golf outing held as fundraiser
- Langer property donated
- Ogden brick plaza program
- Board expanded to 11 at-large and 2 Park Board members
- West Gateway property donated
- Negotiations begin on Heinold property
- Heinold property purchased
- Skateboard Park supported
- Physician's property negotiations
- Master Plan discussions begin
- Foundation receives Millenium Award from Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce
- Endowments established with Porter County Community Foundation matching program
- West Gateway completed
- Service Memorial plans developed and introduced to community
- Foundation tees off the inaugural Creekside Classic
- Service Memorial at the Valparaiso Veterans and Volunteer Plaza dedicated on October 26
- Foundation and Park Department rededicated Valplayso, honoring special friends of the park
- Foundation purchased 69 acres from Vitoux family on a 5-year contract, allowing for future expansion of the park
- Japanese Garden completed by Department horticulture staff
- The wildflower prairie and native tree arboretum were planted at Foundation Meadows with funding assistance from NiSource and redevelopment commission
- Board expanded to 13 at-large and 2 Park Board members
- Board members negotiated labor and materials, and construction began on the "comfort station" (restroom facility) for Foundation Meadows Park
- Designs for amphitheater and Children's Garden at Foundation Meadows commissioned
- Formally paid off obligation and received deed to Vitoux Property, signing it over to the Valpo Parks Department
- The "Art & Irene Malasto Award" was created to "give recognition and appreciation to those people and businesses that have supported the Valparaiso Parks in a significant way through volunteer service, leadership, and/or gifts of financial support. Their commitment to the Park mission of positively impacting the Quality of Life in our community have inspired others to follow in their example."
- The first award was appropriately given to the Malastos.
- A strategic plan was cultivated along with the creation of a new mission statement and new committee focuses.
- The by-laws were amended to allow up to twenty (20) Board members to serve on the Parks Foundation.
- Sunday in the Park was transformed into the "Friends and Legends" reception with a format of recognition for outstanding service (Malasto Award) to the Parks Foundation and Department.
- "Party in the Park" (PITP) was launched as a fundraiser for the Foundation's (annual) focus according to the Parks master plan
- Foundation developed the position of Donor Relations Coordinator and made its first hire
- Two new shade shelters were installed at Butterfly Meadow playground located at Foundation Meadows Park through funds raised by the Party in the Park event. The shelters are named the "Monarch" and the "Caterpillar", and were inspired by the adjacent natural butterfly habitat.
- Completely renovated and rebuilt ValPLAYso-The Next Generation! in October through the efforts of thousands of volunteers and almost $1 million in community support.
- Expanded Central Park Plaza with the construction of the William E. Urschel Pavilion and the Indiana Beverage Activity Center. The pavilion is open year round and is transformed into a public ice skating venue from mid-November to mid-March.
- Launched "Leaders Giving Back" campaing for the renovation of Tower Park. The project includes two signature basketball courts and a state-of-the-art, multipurpose sports field.
Tower Park Courts (Basketball and Pickleball) opened to the public, July.
Past Board Members
Mary Kramer Leonard