Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton park superintendent directed to find site for new skate park; future of current one still in doubt

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It’s unclear how much longer a useful life the Chesterton skate park off South 15th Street is going to have.

It’s also unclear when exactly a replacement will be built.

But the Park Board is interested in knowing where Superintendent Bruce Mathias is looking to construct a new one.

At their meeting Tuesday night, members voted unanimously to direct Mathias to begin the process of identifying park property for a new skate facility.

That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s anything like a time line for the project. As Member Paul Shinn noted, “Money is going to be a major issue for a new skate park.”

In February the board gave Mathias the go-ahead to demolish the skate park, after Mathias said that maintenance of the 10-year-old facility had become an issue. In March, though--following an impassioned plea from skateboarder Sean Cromwell--members reversed their decision but just for the duration of the summer skating season.

As Mathias observed on Tuesday, part of Cromwell’s pitch for granting a stay of execution was that the skate park has been one of the venues of the annual Life Fest suicide awareness fundraiser held every summer. “But Life Fest wasn’t held this year and that was the reason we decided to keep it open this summer,” he said.

No decision was made Tuesday--other than asking Mathias to look for a new site--but as Member Mark Dickinson suggested, a decision will have to be made eventually, “whether we keep limping along” with the current facility or not. “Liability is an issue here.”

Fire Fest

In other business, Zeno Rossetti of the Chesterton Printing Company approached the board about the possibility of organizing a “fire spinning” festival in Thomas Centennial Park in October 2019, along the lines of the monthly Full Moon Fire Jam held during the summer at Foster Beach in Chicago.

According to Wikipedia, fire spinning--or “fire dancing” or “fire performance”--features the exhibition of fire in conjunction with “skills based on juggling, baton twirling, poi spinning, and other forms of object manipulation.”

But Rossetti said that the concept behind the proposed festival is more comprehensive than that, that it would be a “performing arts festival” celebrating fire as art, with glass blowers, say, or sculptors who specialize in welding.

The festival would be one other thing too: a fundraiser for the Shriners Hospital Burn Unit and the Chesterton Fire Department, Rossetti said.

Rossetti did want to know, though, what his next steps would have to be in organizing the event, which he’s hopeful of holding in the first week of October next year to coincide with National Fire Safety Week.

Shinn suggested that Rossetti first establish a not-for-profit for the purpose of permitting and paperwork. And then the next step: to make a formal presentation before the board in which he would provide a necessary particulars.



Posted 7/12/2018




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