But it also opens up possibility of new chapters.
Those were the thoughts of WACF Acquisition Chairman Tom Yoder on the purchase late Friday afternoon of the “buildable lot” adjacent to the foundation’s educational center. The purchase of close to 2 acres includes 320 feet of lake frontage and 690 feet of channel frontage.
The WACF now owns 562 feet of lake frontage at this location on Lake Wawasee and close to 46.21 acres next to one of the largest remaining wetlands on the lake.
The property was purchased from Hugh and Jackie Dunithan.
Yoder noted he began talking with the owner of the property in 2002 and purchase of a part of the property — around 35.5 acres — in January 2008 at a cost of $1.15 million according to county records. “The owner retained the buildable lot,” he stated but no home was ever built on that property.
The DNR owns the neighboring property adjacent to the Conklin Bay wetland, deeded to them in a court settlement a number of years ago.
Heather Harwood, executive director, called the purchase a historical event. “It’s really over the top,” she notes in relation to the excitement of the purchase.
“It’s so important to the conservancy from the stand point of being so contiguous to the main wetland area still left on the lake,” Yoder stated.
“Preservation of what’s left is really important. The conservancy has a vision of educating and we see many opportunity in the future to use the lake frontage and wetlands around it to educate children and adults, boaters and all recreational users of the lake for everybody’s greater appreciation to preserve and protect this great resource,” stated Yoder.
WACF President Sam Leman echoed Yoder’s comments adding he is looking forward to what the foundation will be able to do in the realm of educational programming. “We are at the mercy of our benefactors,” he said, adding that with the help of benefactors “we can come up with all types of educational programs.”
Harwood said, “We are planning to use the property as an educational and welcome center to be interactive with the lake property.” Continuation of making the trails user friendly and further each trails development is also part of the plan.
For a more complete account of this article, see today’s issue of The Mail-Journal.