A place for real friends

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Cover Story

Published on August 15, 2011 with No Comments

By Neal F. Litherland


The pledge from the Friends of Robinson Lake is simple: “As Friends of Robinson Lake, our mission is to preserve the natural beauty of the park, protect it as a public park, and promote awareness of park activities and uses for families and other groups. We partner with others to plan and implement improvements and to sponsor


recreational events.”


The group, which was created in the summer of 2009. It is not-for-profit agency, formed around promoting the Robinson Lake Park in Hobart and making sure it remains a place for the public, for families and for lovers of nature to utilize. They work to keep it in the best possible state for all of those who choose to visit, of course.


“We (the Friends of Robinson Lake) act as caretakers for the park,” said Sandy O’Brien, the vice-chairman for the Friends of Robinson Lake. “We’ve helped keep the park cleaned up, as well as managing a number of other projects as well.”


For being a comparatively young state not-for-profit, and one that is still seeking federal not-for-profit status, the Friends of Robinson Lake have managed to accomplish quite a lot in a relatively short period of time. The volunteers have made bird feeders, put out bird houses, sponsored “go-fishing” training through state-sponsored programs, assisted in wetland habitat planting, created a Christmas tree habitat project, planted and gave away free trees for Earth Day and, most recently, ran a rummage sale.


“We’ve had a lot of success with our events so far,” O’Brien observed. “In fact, our free tree give away was so popular that we’re hoping to give away even more trees than we did this past year.”


Robinson Lake Park is located on Liverpool Road just north of 53rd Ave. It was originally formed during the construction of Interstate 65, when the hole was dug out to provide fill for the highway. At the peak of its popularity, the park was used by people who came there to swim and cool off. Nowadays, the Hobart Public Pool is where residents go to swim in the warm months, as the lake is off-limits to swimmers and the cost of hiring life guards is too high. But the lake is still good for a number of other activities, such as fishing, and it’s a good place for bird-watchers to stake out. Even when taken in as a backdrop, the lake is a beautiful setting for those who love nature or who just want to spend a warm spring or summer day out among the trees and the paths of the park.


So, in 2009, it caused an outcry when Robinson Lake Park – still owned by the city of Hobart — became the target of private interests. Bear County Park, which was the name for a group of interested developers, had set their sights on acquiring the property from the city. This was the original spark that lead to the formation of the Friends of Robinson Lake. It galvanized the efforts to make the park into a better place for everyone to come and enjoy.


“It’s our job to vouch for the park,” O’Brien said. “Because it’s our park and we have to take care of it.”


The Friends of Robinson Lake are always open to new members. O’Brien said they can use all of the help and support they can get. For more information about the Friends of Robinson Lake, call O’Brien for more information at 219-942-2956 or visit the group’s website, www.robinsonlake.com. Letters may be sent: Friends of Robinson Lake, P.O. Box 562, Hobart, Ind. 46342.


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About Neal F. Litherland

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal: neal@thechroniclenwi.com.

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