Lisle Property Campaign Update

Important Update on the Lisle Property acquisition (Aug 19, 2015)

Your LLPOA Board of Directors has been very busy working to acquire the Lisle property. Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, this is the undeveloped piece of property (mostly wetlands) on the south east corner of the lake. For easy reference it is the general area where we shoot the fireworks. The highlight of our efforts to date was the submission of our application to the Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust (BNT) on July 31st. The state has confirmed receipt of that document and commented that we have met their initial requirements to be given further consideration. We now wait for the Trust to respond further with final approval, or perhaps questions which could mean we need to travel to Indy to “present our case” in person to the BNT selection committee. We’re ready to meet that challenge and optimistic about our chances for success. Final approval by the BNT committee would mean we can receive up to $75,000 which represents 50% of the purchase price for the property. 

While all this is happening at the State level, we continue to receive personal and corporate donations to the “Loon Lake Conservation Fund NP” at the Whitley County Community Foundation (WCCF). Remember the BNT is a matching Grant and efforts to raise our share of the needed funds is ongoing. The fund at WCCF is set up to acquire the property and donations are tax deductible. We have made excellent progress, but we could still use your help. So far we have received $5500 plus commitments of an additional $2000. Plus, we received a $1000 grant from ACRES Land Trust to help us with the purchase. Have you donated yet??? You can mail your donation to Whitley County Community Foundation, 400 North Whitley Street, Columbia City, IN 46725. 

Finally, once we take ownership of the property (just trying to think positive) we need to have in place our plans for the eventual use of the property. This could be anything from a simple shelter, fire rings, or a pier. Even something as simple (and basic) as placing a port-a-john on the property needs to be planned for. The point is, whatever our ideas, they need to be submitted now to gain approval up front, thereby avoiding the need to go through another permitting process should we decide to add something down the road. Gaining approval now does not obligate us to any of these projects. It simply means they’re “shovel ready” when and if we decide to move forward. All plans and use of the land will be monitored on an ongoing basis by the DNR. Remember, the primary purpose to obtain this land is to maintain and protect it in its natural state for all to enjoy. But, whatever your idea(s) might be for the potential use of this property; now is the time to let your thoughts be known, so speak up. More discussion and an important vote will take place on Saturday, August 29 at the Annual Fall Membership meeting. You won’t want to miss it.

 

-- Gerry Hill

 


Important Update on the Lisle Property acquisition (Jul 16, 2015)

Early in 2014 the Loon Lake Property Owners Association (LLPOA) entered into an agreement to lease, and ultimately purchase, a tract of land owned by Steve and Cassie Lisle.  We now have a professional appraisal that values the property at $150,000.   Both parties agree the assessed valuation represents a fair price and want to move forward ASAP.   

Initially our timeline to complete the sale was 3-5 years.  But, the game changed when we learned about the Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust (BNT).  The BNT is a matching grant program set up by the state to make funds available for projects designed to protect and preserve Indiana’s valuable natural resource areas.  The BNT will match our financial contributions dollar for dollar up to an amount equal to 50% of the purchase price of the land.  If the BNT accepts our application (and we have a strong indication it will) that’s potentially $75,000 we could receive in matching funds.  Right now we have approximately $30,000 committed to this project so we need to raise an additional $45,000.  Our challenge is that BNT funds run out at the end of 2015 so we need to raise the additional funds in the next 3-4 months.  

Given this short timeline the LLPOA Board believes we need to aggressively pursue donations and grants from every possible source.  We have a group that is working on soliciting corporate donations from area business.  We have another group that will identify and pursue grants from philanthropic groups and foundations.  In fact, we’ve already made application to two such organizations and one has already pledged their support.  

Finally, we’re asking for your help.  Your personal donations can go a long way towards helping us reach our goal.   We recognize and respect that not everyone may be able to donate and some can give more than others.  But a quick calculation demonstrates the power of everyone doing something.  We have 251 homeowners.  If half of that number could give $200 we can raise $25,000.  With corporate support and success with grants we can get this done.   

To facilitate this process the Whitley County Community Foundation (WCCF), a qualifying 501c3 organization, has pledged their help and support.  They will be our “conduit” to handle and track donations.  Your tax deductible donation can be made to:

Whitley County Community Foundation

400 North Whitley Street 

Columbia City, IN 46725

Checks are to be made payable to "Loon Lake Conservation Fund NP"

With The help of the WCCF your dollars do triple duty…. they directly benefit our cause, contributions are matched by the BNT, and you receive a tax benefit.  The Lisle property is a valuable wetlands area and a critical wildlife habitat.   It has also allowed us to stage numerous events that benefit lake residents and the community at large.  In the past access to the property has been due to the generosity of the Lisle’s.  That same generous nature and desire to see the property preserved has provided this opportunity.  

 

-- Your LLPOA Board of Directors thanks you for your help and support!