Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor mulls best fix for Old Porter Road; two citizens named to five person RDC

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The west side of Old Porter Road has road base erupting through broken pavement, and the Town Council is getting estimates and investigating options what to do about it.

Street superintendent Randy Skalku said there’s “a lot of cracking on a lot of roads” this year.

Council member and street liaison Gene Weibl said Wednesday that the town’s biggest need is an approximately half-mile section of Old Porter Road west of Indiana 149, which has to be torn out, including the base, and replaced.

Old Porter Road east of Indiana 149 also has several areas where winter has taken its toll, and after it rains water stands abutting the road as well. Old Porter is a main local artery between Chesterton and Portage.

Weibl said he hopes to have more information on how to proceed next month. The Town Council discussed whether as part of the pavement replacement it would be feasible to gradually raise the grade on Old Porter immediately west of the Indiana 149 intersection, now a steep incline.

Weibl said he has a meeting scheduled next week with a representative of the Indiana Department of Transportation’s LaPorte district office. Among the discussion topics will be a Westport Road ditch and undersized culvert that is tied to a state drain.

Skalku said he’s taking the snow equipment off town trucks and getting the summer equipment ready. Small piles of brush will be picked up now, he explained, but formal pick-up begins May 5 on the first and third Mondays of the month.

Brush and tree branches no longer than 6 feet, or larger than 6 inches in diameter, will be taken if placed in town right-of-way close to the pavement. No leaves will be picked up. In the event of bad weather, pick-up will be made as soon as possible after the scheduled date.

It also was announced that Thursday, May 22, is spring large garbage day when non-freon appliances, furniture, swimming pool liners, bagged or containerized grass clippings and open dried paint cans will be taken, among other items.

RDC openings filled

The town’s Redevelopment Commission hasn’t met since October. 2014 appointments were made Wednesday with assurances that the RDC will begin meeting again.

Traditionally the five Town Council members have filled the five RDC seats, but council president Jim McGee named citizens Brad Enslen and Cliff Fleming as his appointments to the commission that controls annual TIF revenue apart from the town’s general fund.

McGee said Enslen has shown interest in the town by attending meetings and participating in planning efforts, and that as a former council member Fleming has the needed background.

Fleming developed The Village subdivision in Burns Harbor but last year was working out of state. McGee said he has been assured Fleming still lives in town and will make the RDC meetings.

Associate town attorney Charles Parkinson was asked to determine whether the citizen members can be compensated for their RDC service; council members cannot.

McGee also appointed councilman Greg Miller to the RDC, and the full Town Council chose fellow members Jeff Freeze and Weibl to serve on the RDC as well. The Duneland School Board’s non-voting RDC appointment has been Ralph Ayres.

From the audience resident Gayle Van Loon asked why two Village residents --- Enslen and Fleming --- both were named. McGee said location isn’t relevent. “I don’t say ‘they’ and ‘them’ and we shouldn’t say that in Burns Harbor.” Weibl said the two appointees share his views.

Residents Catherine Wilson and Ray Poparad also had applied for an RDC seat.

Councilman Mike Perrine said he’s disappointed that Poparad, a former councilman who was present last night, wasn’t chosen. Although he has nothing against Enslen or Fleming, said Perrine, the latter had to abstain on RDC/Town Council matters before because he was a developer in town. Weibl said he didn’t think that would be a problem now.

Internet connection sought

Weibl offered to talk to Comcast about extending high-speed Internet service to town residents on the west side of South Babcock Road after requests for the service were made. He said steady construction in Corlin’s Landing and Trail Creek subdivisions there should be attractive to Comcast now.

Parkinson was asked to research what kind of franchise agreement the town has with Comcast. Last year the RDC had discussed partnering with Frontier high-speed Internet to expand its service south of Interstate 94 in town, but nothing came of the talks.

In other business, at the request of Duneland Chamber of Commerce president Maura Durham the Town Council voted 5-0 to donate $2,000 to the July 2 community Fireworks on the Lakefront in observance of Independence Day. The amount is the same as 2013.

Voting unanimously the council agreed to order 50 decorative vehicle-license plates displaying the town’s name and logo; the plates would be offered for sale. The plates could cost the town about $250 but might be scrapped if an initial set-up fee is prohibitive.


Posted 4/10/2014