The Birth of a Jewel

Updated: Mar 25

Bob Newton, Founder Newton Park in Lakeville, IN
Bob Newton, Founder of Newton Park in Lakeville, IN

Written by: Mark BradFord, Published in South Bend Tribune


LAKEVILLE, IN – Bob Newton sees himself as just a sort of conduit.

According to him, he is just passing blessings from God to others not as fortunate as he.

The truth is, Newton is a lot more than that. And the proof of that sits on the southwest corner or U.S. 31 and State Road 4.

Where once stood a cornfield barely five years ago now stands a magnificent state-of-the-art sports complex. It is one of the best facilities for a community its size in the United States and it is designed around one simple concept.

“I tried to look at it through the eyes of a soccer mom,” Newton said, “I built my park around what she needs.”

Newton admits to not really knowing where the idea began. He will also admit that the original concept of “just a couple of soccer fields” developed legs, with good idea after good idea pouring themselves on top of each other, almost too fast to incorporate into the overall plan.

But Newton, who started the internationally successful Hoosier Racing Tire company 50 years ago in a garage, is a master of incorporating changes into an overall plan. But he is also a philanthropist who has donated more than his share with little fanfare or notice.

It is impossible to hide the golden dome roof on top of the two-story concession building that is topped by an American Eagle pointing in the direction of the American Flag.

Newton Park's Golden Dome - a tribute to Newton's love for the Notre Dame Irish.

It is also impossible to hide a one-mile paved walking path and the little pond for ice skating; the colored coded fields (clear down to trash receptacles); the computerized lighting system; the meticulously groomed grass; the immaculate and two huge soccer press boxes; the carpeted bathrooms; the kids playground, and the … well, you get the idea.

The list, which according to Newton ended up costing several million dollars, goes on and on.

All built around kids. And their moms, of course. Without a speck of government money.

“I put in my head the vision of what a soccer mom would want and we designed the place from there,” Newton said. “She wants to be able to keep track of all her kids. She wants to take one to one field of play and maybe another to another (field) within easy walking distance.

“Then, if she has little ones, she wants a playground for them to play while their older brothers or sisters are playing soccer or softball or whatever.”

Of course, it’s all there.