Chesterton Tribune

County and Chamber reach agreement on new Indiana 49 sign

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The Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce moved another step closer to its new sign on Tuesday.

The Porter County Commissioners approved a licensing agreement with the chamber to allow the land south of the Porter County ambulance station along 49 to be used for the construction of a welcome to Chesterton sign.

The agreement was a bit of a formality, but was necessary for the chamber to get lenders to provide the $170,000 that the sign will cost.

The new sign will greatly differ from the 25-year old wooden sign that was destroyed in a storm this past winter. The new sign will be a 20-foot-tall triangular stone structure topped with a 3-foot-tall aluminum arch that reads “Welcome to Chesterton.” Inside the sign will be a double-faced 7x14-foot color LED display that will change after no less than 10 seconds.

The new sign should help member businesses and groups, of which there are 370, advertise or make announcements in a more economical way. Emergency services will also be able to use the sign through a remote system to alert the community of weather, traffic or other bulletins.

The agreement provides the final legal authority the chamber needed to begin the sign.

Contractor list

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners received their request for a list of contractor qualifications for “as needed facility services” from DLZ Indiana.

The list of 10 contractors will provide the commissioners with a readily-available list to select from when services are needed for county buildings. The contractors that offer specialty or emergency services, such as fire protection and heating and cooling, also provided a rate schedule with their list of qualifications.

Commissioner president John Evans said having a list of qualified and available contractors makes more sense than trying to scan the phone book when a problem arises.

Satellite dispatcher center approved

The commissioners also approved $10,143 to be taken from the E911 “Rainy Day” fund to create a satellite emergency dispatch center at the Porter County Expo Center.

Expo Center manager Brian Schafer requested the dispatch center to assist with the demand for services associated with the coming Porter County Fair.

“Communication is critical for the EMTs, officers and firefighters around the event,” Schafer said to the board. “This can help everyone that has to respond to emergencies.”

Schafer and the board also noted that the command center, which would basically just be a phone, could serve as a backup for the main dispatching hub should it become disabled for any reason.

“Because it can double as a backup as well, it’s really a good thing,” Evans said.

More support for Southport Services

Another potential $35,000 was approved for Southport Services as it tries to help the county collect $1.5 million in owed money from taxes and homestead violations.

Originally Southport received $5,000 dollars for the collection of funds, but that number has been increased twice to $60,000.

Thus far this year, the county has collected about $730,000 of the $1.5 million and settled about half of its 7,000 disputed claims.

Employee Days

For the third straight year, county employees will be able to get discounted tickets and rides at the Porter County Fair.

Citing a large number of positive comments from past years, the commissioners expanded the employee days for 2011 to include all days of the fair and not just selected dates.

County employees will get $1 off the $5 admission for them and their families and be able to purchase all-day ride passes for just $12 (normally $22).

The next scheduled meeting for the Porter County Commissioners will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 5 at the Porter County Government Building at 155 Indiana Ave. in Valparaiso.



Posted 6/22/2011