Chesterton Tribune



Boxcar and caboose to be delivered to Thomas Park on July 18

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The boxcar restroom and caboose comfort station are scheduled to be delivered to Thomas Centennial Park on Wednesday, July 18.

So Chesterton MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala reported at the Park Board’s meeting Tuesday night.

The interiors of both train cars have been completely refurbished and their exteriors re-finished and painted in their respective liveries, Gadzala said: the boxcar in the barn red of the Monon Railroad--the historic “Hoosier Line” which ran chiefly in Indiana from 1897 to 1956--with “Monon” in white lettering and “The Hoosier Line” in red lettering across a white strip at the top; and the caboose in the classic red of the Norfolk Southern, with “NS” in white italic lettering next to the silhouette of a horse’s head.

Schlatter Inc. will be transporting the cars to Thomas Park from the Michigan City shop of Preferred Contractor Services, which did the reconditioning. Schlatter is the same firm which trucked the boxcar from its old home in Orville, Ohio, at the Orville Railroad Heritage Society.

Gadzala said that, in advance of the July 18 move, the two cars’ wheels will be delivered to Thomas Park sometime this week. Depending on the wheels’ weight, the Street Department may be able to place them on the tracks with a front-end loader, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell noted.

The cars themselves will be hoisted onto the tracks in the same way the tracks were sited, by a 60-ton Peterbilt crane provided by Joe’s Towing Inc., Gadzala said.

Once the cars are placed, contractor Larson-Danielson Construction of LaPorte will perform the actual restroom retrofit of the boxcar, at a project price of $256,340. The caboose comfort station, on the other hand, is nearly complete, Gadzala said, but for the installation of wiring and light fixtures.

Since first conceived by Richard Riley, owner of the Riley’s Railhouse at 123 N. Fourth St., the project has been one of many moving parts, and as Gadzala indicated on Tuesday decisions still need to be made.

Among them, the design of the landscaping around the train cars and the adjacent Duneland Chamber of Commerce building. To that end, Gadzala sought and received from the Park Board permission to approach the Porter County Master Gardeners Association for guidance and possible funding assistance.

Exterior lighting is also a concern, Gadzala said, and should probably include both downlighting for security and safety reasons as well as uplighting from the landscaping. As O’Dell observed, “The town definitely wants security lighting.”

Another decision: how best to recognize the upper level sponsors of the project, those who have donated $500 or more. The Branding Leadership Team is currently discussing an appropriately themed plaque which could do the trick, Gadzala said.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Bruce Mathias reported that the Park Department has completed the in-house installation of a water line to serve the restroom facility and is now waiting for Indiana American Water Company to meter it. Mathias said that he’s also working with NIPSCO about the installation of underground electric service, to avoid the ungainliness of an overhead line.

Fee Waiver

In other business, members voted unanimously to waive the shelter fee for the Chesterton Art Fair, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4-5, at Dogwood Park.

Wendy Marciniak, executive director of the Chesterton Art Center, requested the shelter fee waiver, and said that the organizers have historically hired help to police the trash at Dogwood Park at the conclusion of the event on Sunday, “so the Park Department doesn’t have to do it on Monday.”

Mathias confirmed that Dogwood Park has always looked great when it opens for business the day after the fair.

Dr. Jim Reed Donates

Meanwhile, Mathias thanked Dr. Jim Reed of the Ark of the Dunes Animal Hospital, 135 E. 1100N, for his generous donation of three dog-waste stations stocked with plastic bags.

The stations will be installed at Dogwood Park, Chesterton Park, and Thomas Centennial Park.


Posted 7/11/2018




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