The Chesterton Town
Council would very much like to hear more about an idea broached at its
meeting Monday night by the Branding Leadership Team (BLT): namely, to widen
the sidewalk in the 200 block of Broadway between Second and Third streets;
between, that is, Spike & Buddy’s and O’Gara & Wilson’s.
Doing so would
create space for al fresco dining and shade-making street trees and
could be an important step in revitalizing the Downtown, snewly appointed
Special Projects Coordinator Jennifer Gadzala told the council.
The 200 block has
been chosen as a possible test location for sidewalk widening because
businesses there were either built on slabs with no basements or have
basements in the rear of the building, Gadzala said. Nor are there any relic
coal chutes in the 200 block.
Town Engineer Mark
O’Dell told the council that--by replacing the angled parking in the 200
block with parallel parking, with the loss of six or seven spaces--another
six feet in width could be added to the eight-foot sidewalk. “Our goal is
not to mess with existing sidewalks,” he said.
John Schnadenberg noted that the flow of traffic, both east- and westbound,
would be unaffected by a widened sidewalk. “Motorists would still stay in
their lanes, with no change in traffic pattern.”
Should the widened
sidewalk prove a success, Schnadenberg added, the pilot program could be
extended, say, to the 100 block. “One block at a time,” he said. “The fact
that there are no coal chutes (in the 200 block) would make this easier.”
president of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce and a member of the BLT, said
that the 200 block was also chosen for a pilot program because “it has the
most congested foot traffic and because the businesses there would most
benefit from it.”
The majority of the
businesses surveyed are excited by the prospect of a widened sidewalk,
Durham also said.
executive director of the Porter County Convention, Recreation, and Visitor
Commission and a member of the BLT as well, said that widened sidewalks are
“a trend in communities,” and that the BLT considers it a “high priority.”
Members liked what
they heard. “I think it’s a great idea,” said Member Nate Cobbs, R-4th.
“This would be
super,” concurred Member Jim Ton, R-1st.
accordingly, instructed Gadzala, O’Dell, and Schnadenberg to gather more
information and to report back on the cost of such a project, possible
funding sources for it, and something like a timetable.