3210 Campbell St., Valparaiso, IN 219.462.5144 219.465.0098

About

The Valpo Parks Foundation supports the Valpo Parks system of facilities and programs through public and private partnerships.

It is our mission to provide opportunities for the community to support the continuing legacy of high quality experiences provided by the Parks.

The Parks We've Helped Fund:       

  • Central Park Plaza
  • Foundation Meadows
  • Butterfly Meadow & Caterpillar Crossing
  • Service Memorial-Veterans and Volunteers Plaza
  • Valplayso
  • 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

Additional history



1988
  • August 17 - First meeting
  • Board composed of 5 at-large and 4 Park Board members
  • Valparaiso Street property acquired in agreement with Schools

1989
  • Dinner Dance held as first major fundraiser

1990
  • 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

1991
  • Foundation leads negotiations for Johnson property
  • Newsletter and logo format developed

1992
  • 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

1993
  • Discussions begin on Valplayso
  • Foundation video developed as marketing tool

1994
  • Valplayso funded, developed and opened
  • Board expanded to 10 at-large and 2 Park Board members

1995
  • 50-Year Park Board Anniversary
  • First golf outing held as fundraiser
  • Langer property donated

1996
  • Ogden brick plaza program
  • Board expanded to 11 at-large and 2 Park Board members

1997
  • West Gateway property donated
  • Negotiations begin on Heinold property

1998
  • Heinold property purchased
  • Skateboard Park supported

1999
  • Physician's property negotiations
  • Master Plan discussions begin

2000
  • Foundation receives Millenium Award from Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce
  • Endowments established with Porter County Community Foundation matching program
  • West Gateway completed

2001
  • Service Memorial plans developed and introduced to community

2002
  • Foundation tees off the inaugural Creekside Classic

2003
  • Service Memorial at the Valparaiso Veterans and Volunteer Plaza dedicated on October 26

2004
  • Foundation and Park Department rededicated Valplayso, honoring special friends of the park

2005
  • 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

2006
  • 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

2007
  • Designs for amphitheater and Children's Garden at Foundation Meadows commissioned

2010
  • 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.

2011
  • 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.

2012 
  • "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
2013
  • 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.
2014

 

  • Completely renovated and rebuilt ValPLAYso-The Next Generation! in October through the efforts of thousands of volunteers and almost $1 million in community support.
2015
  • 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.

2016
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.


Past Board Members


Bill Alexa

Norm Backus

Bruce Berner

Bob Bilheimer

Mary Binder

Deb Butterfield

Jon Costas

Jan Dick

Julie Douglas

Ric Frataccia

Ordell Gertsmeier

Marilyn Gertsmeier

Marion Gill

Sharon Gott

Cheryl Harmon

Julia Hess

Mark Hubbard

Jim Hutton

Douglas Klemz

Jon Leetz


Mary Kramer Leonard 

Art Malasto

Dan Marchetti

Stewart McMillan

Larry Moore

Bill Oeding

Gus Olympidis

Robert Pasquella

Doug Pierce

Mark Ritzi

Jerry Rodenbarger 

Walt Schramm

John Schnurlein

Martin Sonnenberg

Mike Tanck

Nancy Urschel

Kathy Wehling

Chuck Welter

Wayne Welter