Most gaze toward the lake when they’re at Unity Park; now, look down, too

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Unity Foundation of La Porte County had to get creative to thank donors for their support of Unity Park, a two-acre area on beautiful Pine Lake, which is now home to new public art. In a well-attended celebration, the Power of Community shined bright as many donors and supporters watched as the tribute art was revealed. In the celebration, Ed Volk, Past Co-Chair of the Unity Foundation Board of Directors, and Maggi Spartz, President, thanked the Unity Foundation Board and the many corporate and private donors who made this project possible. Volk provided a brief history of the project. Jon Gilmore and Michele Magnuson, current Co-Chairs of Unity, highlighted a permanent plaque located at the park commemorating the project leaders. 

When it was given to the City of La Porte in 2016, the lakefront property was appraised at $1,515,000. The accompanying endowment fund for its care was started with a $100,000 gift from the La Porte Park Foundation.

Mayor Mark Krentz said, “This is a project that I did not mind inheriting. Thank you for preserving our beautiful lakefront.” He introduced Park Superintendent Mark Schreiber, who said “Thank you to the Unity Foundation and the project donors for this wonderful community green space.” The care given by Schreiber and his team helps to assure this park greets visitors and residents with a welcoming view of one of our largest and most beautiful lakes each day. Kathy Chroback, Mayor of La Porte at the time this project began, said, “Maggi came to me with this idea. She and the Unity Board weren’t sure this would get support, but I told them that the people of La Porte are caring and generous. They would support this fabulous project.” 

During the presentation, Spartz thanked public artist Deb Landry for her inspiration and execution of the art. Spartz also highlighted the decision to work with Recycled Granite, which gave four distinct benefits: diverting 2,000 pounds of granite from the landfill, employing several Special Needs Artisan Apprentices to create, deliver and help install the tiles making the 11-x-11-foot portion of concrete permeable, letting rainwater through naturally; and finally recognizing Unity Park supporters in a permanent and artful way. The event was capped off as the sun set over Pine Lake, with a view that is forever protected thanks to the generous donors in our community. 

To see the artwork, visit Unity Park on Pine Lake Avenue and consider making a donation to the Unity Park Endowment Fund at www.uflc.net to support the maintenance and care of Unity Park forever. 

The park was also one of the Bicentennial Nature Trust legacy projects commemorating Indiana’s bicentennial celebration in 2016. Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch toured the park later that evening. 

Since 1992, Unity Foundation of La Porte County has served donors, nonprofits and local communities. As La Porte County’s community foundation, it manages approximately $32 million in assets, administers more than 325 charitable funds, and has distributed approximately $19 million through direct grants and scholarships. The Council on Foundations has deemed Unity Foundation in compliance with all Indiana and national ethical and operating standards for community foundations. Unity Foundation’s mission is to strengthen La Porte County now and forever by building permanent endowments; providing leadership; offering philanthropic vehicles for everyone; and, being a catalyst for social and economic vitality. For more information, please visit www.uflc.net or call 219-879-0327.

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