Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Bid approved for County Admin Building entrance work

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

One week after the Porter County Council approved a bond issue for $30 million in upgrades to a few County buildings, the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday moved forward with the reconstruction of the front steps at the County Administration Building in Valparaiso.

A special meeting was held Tuesday to approve a bid submitted by Gariup Construction, of Gary, with a base bid of $793,500 and $139,000 total for alternatives, the most significant being the installation of a heating system underneath the pavement that would melt snow and ice on the sloped walkway up to the entrance of the building.

The melting system will protect the sidewalk from being salted, like what has been done to the steps that are there now, said Commissioner President Jeff Good, R-Center. The system could recoup costs by not having to pay for the labor and salt, he added, and the building can be open during snowy weather.

Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, agreed that heating the ramp is “most important.”

“We’ve all sat here and we’ve watched people struggle out there, year after year, and it is especially bad when its frozen,” she said in making the motion to include all alternatives.

The other alternatives include the addition of an irrigation system that would recycle water to be used for the plants in the new landscaping planned and educational signage on stormwater practices, which would help the County fulfill its public education obligation in the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program.

Good said the County will be able to purchase high-end trash receptacles and lighting for the front of the building that can change color for special events and holidays. The handrails along the sloped sidewalk will also be lit.

The Commissioners are hoping to start work right away, as was requested by the County Council, Good said. He mentioned that the $932,500 for the work is less than the $1 million target the Commissioners were aiming for.

Roundabout on Ind. 2

In other matters Tuesday, the Commissioners voted 3-0 in favor of a contract with the Troyer Group, of South Bend, to configure design maps at the roundabout planned for the intersection of Heavilin Rd. and Ind. 2.

The County owns parcels on three sides of where the roundabout will be, Good said. The intersection is where the former County Animal Shelter was located and one of the sites for the County Highway Department.

Good said community leaders decided to petition the state a little over a year ago for a roundabout to control the extra traffic brought on by the opening of the new Valparaiso elementary school at 2450 Heavilin Rd.

The Troyer Group will provide the Commissioners with schematic drawings of what will happen to the County’s property with regards to access, Good said. The overall goal is to ensure the property will have access should the Commissioners ever try to market and sell the land, he said.

“If we get ready to sell this property, we want there to be value,” Good said.

Ambulance radios

Also, the Commissioners approved a request from Porter Health Care System to purchase mobile and portable radios for ambulances and EMS personnel from Bartronics Inc., of Chesterton.

The radios will be manufactured by EF Johnson Technologies which Good said is comparable with Motorola radios and the 800 Megahertz project at a lesser price. The total for the radios is $99,992.

County Attorney Scott McClure said the fund to pay for the radios is the one set up by the EMS contract the County has with Porter Regional Hospital. The Hospital deposits money into the fund and ultimately it is those monies that will be used to purchase the radios. The Commissioners will however need to request the County Council appropriate the funds, he said.

Good said the Commissioners are continuing to work with municipalities and townships on a solution for the 800 MHz radio mandate by the state and intend to have a proposal to bring to the County Council at its next regular meeting in September.

Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, said the EF Johnson radios are $900 cheaper per unit than the other models and going over the Sheriff’s Department needs, he would contend that departments should be able to bid out the radios.

“With the amount of radios our Sheriff’s Department needs, the amount of savings would be huge. It cannot be ignored,” Biggs said.

 

Posted 8/31/2017

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

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