By KEVIN NEVERS
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.
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.
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.