And here’s the
kicker: if the campaign succeeds in raising $31,000 by the deadline on
Friday, April 20, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority
will match that amount dollar for dollar, for a total pot of $62,000.
As Chesterton MS4
Operator Jennifer Gadzala reported at the Park Board’s meeting Thursday
night, donations to date total $15,007, just about halfway to the goal. And
that amount includes a flurry of contributions made earlier in the day.
While appearing on
Thursday’s edition of Chamber Corner on WIMS with Duneland Chamber of
Commerce President Maura Durham, Chamber Chair Paul Boyter announced that he
would match dollar for dollar all donations made to Patronicty up to $500 by
5 p.m. Thursday. In fact, Durham told members, restroom boosters and
railroad buffs raised all of $1,000 by the cutoff, and Boyter was happy to
cut a check for the full $500, for a one-day total of $1,500.
Durham was pleased
as well to pledge to Patronicity $2,090, from the proceeds of March’s
Corkscrew & Brew fest in Thomas Park; as well as $10 from a train spotter
she personally buttonholed near the Norfolk Southern tracks by the Chamber’s
Gadzala, for her
part, also reported that the Norfolk Southern Railroad--whose livery, the
classic red with “NS” in white italic lettering next to the silhouette of a
horse’s head, has been chosen for the accompanying caboose community
space--is also looking to make a donation to Patronicity.
“We have been very
busy,” Gadzala said. “Phone calls have been made. People have been hitting
Gadzala has said
that the benefits of the restroom project are many. Begin with the genuine
need to replace the portable chemical toilets currently sited in Thomas Park
with a permanent restroom facility, given the fact that the park is home not
only to the European Market but to a slew of festivals throughout the year.
But the train cars
are also expected to be a popular draw for railroading enthusiasts, they
will “enhance the sense of place” in the Downtown, contribute to its charm
and nostalgia, and “build further momentum for placemaking” in Chesterton,
Gadzala has said.
community space, meanwhile, will serve as a warming station in the winter, a
cooling station in the summer, and will likely become a popular meeting
space for many folks. Gadzala sees its being stocked with checkers and chess
boards and offering an inviting gathering spot for small groups.
Engineer Mark O’Dell reported that the period for quotes on the boxcar
retrofit has been extended, after several questions arose about the project
One of those
complications: the pledge of Mark Hopkins, owner of Hopkins ACE Hardware, to
donate plumbing and fixtures to the project. That pledge, it turns out, has
been difficult to work into the specs for the boxcar retrofit, as it could
potentially hamstring the general contractor’s accustomed materials
Hopkins will be making a donation for the equivalent cost of the materials,
“It was a great
thought, though,” O’Dell said. “A really great effort.”
A pre-quote meeting
for interested contractors will be held on Monday in Michigan City at the
work site where the boxcar will be retrofitted, O’Dell added.