Construction of the
new Horton Children’s Center at Sunset Hill Farm Park has hit a hiccup that
could cost an extra $19,000, according to Park Superintendent Walter Lenckos.
Lenckos brought a
change order from Chester Inc., the construction manager on the project, to
the County Park Board’s meeting yesterday following the discovery that there
is unstable soil where the parking lot for the new grain-bin shaped
education center was planned.
The root of the
problem is debris--wood and concrete pieces from an old barn-- buried in the
soil on the parking lot site. A subcontractor working for Chester quoted
Lenckos a price of approximately $19,000 to stabilize the soil 18 inches
down using materials already on site and remove the debris.
At this pace, the
Horton Children’s Center won’t be open to the public at the Spring-Out to
Sunset Festival, May 18, after all, though the parking lot may be the only
Craig Kenworthy was uncomfortable with the way the change order was
presented, given that Chester’s subcontractor excavating the site has
threatened to leave on another job if they aren’t given a task soon.
Vice-president Rich Hudson noted that Porter County’s had six inches of rain
since Saturday, so any decision they make on the construction will have to
wait until the ground dries out, anyway.
if 18 inches of stabilization on the site would be enough or if debris might
be buried deeper, and whether or not a good estimation of that can be made
in the mud. Either way, Kenworthy was concerned about the longevity of the
eventual parking lot.
“None of us can
control the rain. What we can control is making sure when we make this
decision that the ground is at the point that it naturally is and not
saturated by as much rain as its sitting on now,” Kenworthy said.
“I’m not willing to
spend this money unless it’s absolutely necessary to spend it,” he added.
Lenckos noted that
the work has a one year warranty, but Kenworthy was concerned about problems
years, not months, down the line. “It might not be my problem, but for some
park board down the line in ten years its’ gonna be their issue,” Kenworthy
said. “We’ve got to be good stewards on this, we really have to.”
Board member Drew
Armstrong asked advice from County Council member Jeff Larson, R-At-large,
who was in the audience. Larson advised them that inviting Chester and the
subcontractor to a public meeting and getting a written guarantee for the
work might be their best bet.
The Board voted to
table the discussion and have Lenckos contact Chester to set up a meeting in
In other business,
Lenckos made a reminder that Spring-Out to Sunset is Saturday, May 18 from
noon to 4 p.m. and at 4 p.m. Mojo Morganfield, a son of Blues legend Muddy
Waters, will headline a concert. Admission to Spring-Out is $5 per car.
Lenckos emphasized that there are still slots open for the Kansas City
Barbecue Society competition. The contest is open to the public. There are
four food categories entrants must compete in, and no propane is allowed.
reported, “Programs and summer camps are really rocking right now.” Summer
camps are about three-fourths full and programs are filling up fast.
Also, the Board
decided by consensus that it would be willing to entertain a discussion with
the Northwest Indiana Croquet Association again, after the group backed out
of a proposal to lease a portion of Sunset Hill to build a championship
croquet field and clubhouse. Since the County Park Board cited environmental
concerns stemming from the special lawn care needed on croquet courts and
concerns about public access, the group was rebuffed by the Chesterton Park
Board when it asked for space at Dogwood Park. In correspondence with
Lenckos, the group’s attorney Michael Sawyier has said they’re willing to
work with the board on those concerns.