On Monday night the
Chesterton Town Council held its first in-person meeting since Gov. Eric
Holcomb issued his stay-at-home order on March 23. Social-distancing was the
order of the day, everyone not sitting at his or her own table separated on
either side by an empty chair. Ten chairs for the public were staggered
throughout the meeting room, and citizens who wished to attend were asked to
sign in outside the town hall, so that a running total could be kept of the
number of people inside.
All persons wore
masks, which were made available to anyone not having one. Fire Chief John
Jarka supervised the disinfection of all surfaces in the meeting room, while
Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell, and Police
Chief Dave Cincoski took responsibility for the configuration of the
There was, in fact,
only one COVID-19 issue discussed on Monday: the cancellation of this year’s
edition of the Chesterton Art Fair, reported by Town Manager Bernie Doyle.
recommendation, members voted unanimously to award the bid for a pair of
50/50 Community Crossings paving projects to the Rieth-Riley Construction
The projects: the
entirety of South Park Acres, including South Park Drive, Timber Court, and
Elm Court; and North Calumet Road between Indian Boundary Road and the
Norfolk Southern railroad right-of-way.
bid, which Schnadenberg deemed both responsive and responsible: $370,999.55.
So far this season,
18 different roads or stretches of roads totaling 3.9 miles have been
re-paved, Schnadenberg reported.
Once the South Park
Acres and North Calumet Road jobs have been completed--and then East Oakhill
Road, a joint project with the Town of Porter--Schnadenberg told members
that he’ll see how much of the $1.8 million general obligation bond, issued
in 2018 for road and infrastructure work, is left and will proceed
In other business,
O’Dell reported that work continues on the repair of the sinkhole beneath
the sidewalk on the east side of 23rd Street, just north of Washington Ave.
O’Dell was hopeful that the road would be open for traffic at the end of the
day on Tuesday.
that the town has been bypass-pumping since the sinkhole opened up, after a
seam in the PVS stormwater pipe failed and many cubic feet of silt and earth
were washed away during a torrential rain. Once excavation of the sinkhole
began, in preparation for repairs, it became clear that the groundwater
level was so high that a contractor had to be hired to de-water the site.
With Bob Allison’s
resignation from the council on Friday, members moved promptly on Monday to
fill his two liaison duties, voting unanimously to appoint Jim Ton, R-1st,
to the Police Department; and Lloyd Kittredge, R-2nd, to the Street
CFD Transfer to
voted unanimously to adopt a resolution authorizing the donation of the Fire
Department’s 1988 utility vehicle--the Police Department’s old mobile
command center--to the Burns Harbor Fire Department.
Members also voted
unanimously to continue a public hearing on the petition of Mike and Melissa
Topor, who are seeking a reduction of a utility and drainage easement on
their property at 3525 Drives Lane.
The Topors were not
in attendance at Monday’s meeting, and Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann said that
they need to formally make their case for the easement reduction at the
Doyle, for his
part, reported that work on the railroad quiet zone project has ramped up
again, following the acquisition early this year of the town’s contracted
consultant CTC Inc. The new firm, Real Technology, is “working very
assertively” with the Chicago offices of the Federal Railroad
Administration. “They’re not wasting any time getting back on track,” Doyle
“They have employed
some highly skilled people to replace those they lost,” Ton added.
In response to a
query from Chesterton resident Lori Laster, Park Superintendent Shane
Griffin said that the tennis courts at Chesterton Park will open to the
public on Sunday, June 14, and that they’ll be available for pickleball
cautioned, “something drastic happens.”
Kittredge took a
moment at the end of the meeting to voice his gladness that the days of
Zooming meetings appear to be over. “It’s nice to be here again seeing
people at the meeting,” he said.