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,”
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.”
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.
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.
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.