Chesterton Tribune

Council agrees to $100,000 match for second fire station

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Although the federal grant for a new fire station which the Chesterton Town Council has authorized Fire Chief Mike Orlich to apply for does not require a match of any kind, it certainly wouldn’t hurt the town’s chances to pony up a match anyway.

So Orlich told the council at its meeting Monday night.

Orlich said that a 5-percent match--or around $100,000 for a $2 million grant, which would probably be enough to cover everything, including design--would earn the CFD a much higher eligibility score than no match at all.

Members agreed that a leverage of $100,000 to get $1.9 million is a good investment and accordingly voted 5-0 to commit to a match of that amount from CEDIT funds.

The new station would be built on a two-acre site donated to the town some years ago by the Lake Erie Land Company, located on the west side of Dickinson Road between 1100N and Rail Road.

Orlich has said that the Chesterton Fire Department would be able to staff and outfit a new station with current manpower and vehicles.

Orlich made a point of emphasizing that the proposed station would be built in addition to--and not as a replacement of--the existing one.

He added that $2 million would buy the design and the construction of the facility, which Orlich envisions as having three bays, living quarters for firefighters, and a small office space. The CFD’s vehicles and equipment would be split between the two stations.

Orlich told the council at its last meeting that the CFD meets nearly every priority of the grant program--being administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency--as established by the 2007 Service Evaluation of the department presented to the council in April 2008. Together the geographical and population growth of Chesterton have had the consequence of gradually increasing the CFD’s response times, so that in 2006, for instance, it met the National Fire Protection Association’s recommended response time only 46 percent of the time, while in 2007 it met that recommendation only 44 percent of the time.

Orlich did say that the property value of the two-acre site east of Ind. 49 cannot count toward the 5-percent match but that the fact of the town’s ownership of that site should increase its eligibility score in the grant process.

Waiver Petition

In other business, members voted 5-0 to refer to department heads a petition from the Town Standard requiring a sidewalk in front of all new construction. Making the petition was Cliff Fleming, formerly a resident of Wilson Street in Morgan Park, now of Burns Harbor.

Fleming told the council that several years ago he platted the minor Creekview subdivision--consisting of three lots on three acres--on Wilson Street, with the idea of eventually building three homes showcasing the traditional neighborhood design concept which, at one time at least, was at the heart of Coffee Creek Center.

But he only built one of the homes before getting involved in the Village at Burns Harbor and sold that house to John and Brandon Kroft.

Although he did build a sidewalk in front of that home--partially on his own property--Fleming said that he did so, again, to demonstrate the virtues of traditional neighborhood design. But in fact there are no sidewalks on the west side of Wilson Street all the way to East Porter Ave. and there never have been.

The particular issue: under Town Code the sidewalk for that minor subdivision must be built by the end of September, and Fleming is hoping that the council is of a mind to relieve the Plan Commission of the obligation of enforcing Town Code by granting a waiver from the Town Standard.

In other words, inquired Member Jim Ton, R-1st, you built that sidewalk more for “aesthetic reasons” and partially on your own property?

Fleming agreed with that representation.

Members voted 5-0 to instruct the department heads to review the petition and asked Fleming to provide drawings of the site.

Garbage in the Downtown

President Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, took a moment at the end of the meeting to ask the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce to have a chat with the vendors at the European Market about stuffing their garbage in the cans in Thomas Centennial Park.

By the time that Cruise Night starts at 5 p.m., DeLaney said, the park garbage cans are already stuffed and it’s not right that the Parks and Recreation Department should have to empty cans of trash generated by an event sponsored by the Chamber.

Celebrate Freedom

Clerk-Treasurer Gayle Polakowski reminded the council of the second annual “Celebration of Freedom” program at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Chesterton High School auditorium, sponsored by the First Christian Church of Chesterton to honor veterans, police officers, and firefighters.

To be remembered at the ceremony will be the late Warren “Skip” Highwood and Jim Branham, both of whom devoted their lives to the fire service in Duneland.



Posted 6/23/2009