Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Chesterton Town Council meets in person

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By KEVIN NEVERS

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 seating.

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.

Paving Projects

At Schnadenberg’s recommendation, members voted unanimously to award the bid for a pair of 50/50 Community Crossings paving projects to the Rieth-Riley Construction Company.

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.

Rieth-Riley’s low 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 accordingly.

Sinkhole

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.

Schnadenberg noted 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.

New Liaisons

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 Department.

CFD Transfer to BHFD

Meanwhile, members 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.

Public Hearing Continued

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 public hearing.

Quiet Zone

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 said.

“They have employed some highly skilled people to replace those they lost,” Ton added.

Tennis Courts

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 players.

“Unless,” he cautioned, “something drastic happens.”

Last Thought

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.

 

 

Posted 6/10/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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