The “riverfront area” designation approved by the Chesterton Town Council in
2009—which allows a municipality to circumvent population quotas on liquor
licenses—may soon bear new fruit.
At the council’s meeting Monday night, Town Manager Bernie Doyle said that
he’s currently in discussions with a “really smart Chicago restaurateur”
interested in locating a “Chicago-style wine bar” in an undisclosed
storefront in the Downtown.
It would be a fine-dining establishment, Doyle said, with U-shaped booths
along one wall and the bar on the other opening onto a view of the grill.
“Guarded optimism right now but I think it’s going to go through,” Doyle
said. “If it does, that would really be neat.”
So far, two liquor-licensed restaurants have opened in the Downtown under
the aegis of the riverfront designation: the Octave Grill at 137 S. Calumet
Road and Villanova Pizzeria & Bistro at 213 Broadway.
The riverfront area in the Downtown extends 3,000 feet from either bank of
the Coffee Creek as it winds its way south to north through the Downtown.
Very roughly, those limits describe a district bounded—west of Coffee
Creek—by the CSX tracks to the north, West Porter Ave. to the south, and as
far west as Eighth Street; and—east of Coffee Creek—by the Norfolk Southern
tracks to the south, the east arm of the Little Calumet River to the north,
and as far east as Roberts Road.
Liquor licenses granted under the riverfront designation are made available
only to restaurants and only in the Downtown.
In other business, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported that he will be
meeting in the second week of January with architecture firm Gerometta &
Kinel to discuss the design of a proposed public restroom facility in Thomas
Centennial Park. Within a week after that meeting, O’Dell said, the firm
should be submitting a proposal for services.
“Is it possible for the restroom to break ground in time for the summer,”
asked Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd.
O’Dell said that that’s the plan: a spring bid, a summer build.
The restroom’s design should be fairly straightforward, O’Dell added, since
the plans will be based on a facility already built by the City of Hobart
and modified slightly to Park Superintendent Bruce Mathias’ specifications.
While on the subject of Thomas Park, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg—who
knows a little something about exterior illumination—took a moment to pass
on his compliments to the Parks and Recreation Department. “The Downtown
looks very nice this year,” he said.
Members Jim Ton, R-1st, and Sharon Darnell, D-4th, both wished everyone a
wonderful Christmas. “A safe and peaceful holiday,” Darnell said.