Noting the historical and cultural significance of the Chellberg Farm, the
Chesterton Town Council on Monday endorsed a resolution calling on the
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to reopen the working farm.
The resolution was presented by Chesterton Town Council member Jim Ton, who
said he fears that the community has lost one of its greatest assets with
the end of the historical farm.
“For years, the farm has been an educational experience for students in the
entire Duneland area,” states the resolution, which Ton read at Monday’s
town council meeting. “Where the community is concerned it has been a
constant reminder of our heritage, a real piece of history come to life. To
lose it means we have lost a portion of who we are.”
Ton’s resolution goes on to say that the community’s roots are agrarian, but
that growth and change have affected people’s understanding of the farming
“Before there was a state park or steel mills, before there was a Wizard or
a water park, there was a Chellberg Farm,” Ton read.
“Farming at Chellberg was a part of our roots. We can never fully understand
who we are collectively or individually until we understand where we have
been,” he said.
The other town council members agreed by consensus to send a letter to
National Lakeshore Superintendent Constantine Dillon to revise the plan for
the farm and reconsider the closing of the farming operations. Those in
agreement were council president Emerson DeLaney, Jeff Trout, and Sharon
Darnell. Absent was Dave Cincoski.
The Chellberg Farm ceased its farming operations earlier this year, after
the farm animals were sold and the former farmer retired and was not
replaced. The closure of the farm has sparked public outcry, but Dillon has
said that he envisions a broader cultural center onsite that could include
farming operations as well as interpretive programs on such topics as
cultural diversity and Native American history.
Town council members agreed with a suggestion from Darnell to upgrade the
town council’s meeting room. She proposed removing older items, adding new
ones, changing the room’s color to a more neutral tone, and moving the main
meeting table from the north end of the room to the east.
DeLaney said with the council table moved, the audience could hear council
member discussion even when a train comes by
The council agreed to participate in an effort by the Northwest Indiana
Forum to retain an Indianapolis law firm to identify ways to maximize the
possible benefits from the next round of federal economic stimulus funds.
Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann expressed a concern that the Forum might come
back and request more than the town’s $2,600 contribution if not enough
other communities sign on. Town council members agreed to join in the
effort, contingent upon final review of the agreement by Lukmann.
Two Hour Parking
The council approved an ordinance amending the town code regarding two-hour
parking restrictions. The change gives town officials more flexibility to
impose the restrictions for any length of time, instead of only set hours.
Accordingly, the town council agreed to place two-hour parking signs on
At the recommendation of Town Manager Bernie Doyle, the council approved the
selection of the S.E.H. firm to conduct a review of the town’s comprehensive
plan and develop a downtown overlay zone. Another proposal was submitted by
the LSL firm. Council members said both firms had strong credentials, but
gave the work to S.E.H. due to its involvement in planning for other nearby
The council also approved a request from Cliff Fleming to grant a waiver to
a town standard that requires a sidewalk in front of a new house on Wilson
Street. The street has no walks except for the one he installed in front of
a house he has since sold.
The council agreed with a recommendation from Building Commissioner Dave
Novak to invoke the town’s unsafe building ordinance for the house at 1500
Maximillan, which was damaged in a fire. Novak said there has been very
little progress made in cleaning up the property since the fire.
New Fire Truck
Chesterton Fire Chief Mike Orlich announced a 3 p.m. ceremony this Sunday to
officially put the town’s newly acquired fire truck in service. He also said
that a grant application has been submitted to the Federal Emergency
Management Administration for the proposed new fire station on Dickinson
Road. The grant request seeks $1.8 million, with the town contributing a