Chesterton Tribune



Donations to be matched: Two weeks left for boxcar restroom drive

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Two full weeks are still left to make the boxcar restroom in Thomas Centennial Park a point of personal pride, by donating to a crowdsourcing platform the proceeds from which will go to landscaping the facility and building ramp access to it.

Donations may be made the Patronicity crowdsourcing platform at

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 offices.

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 the pavement.”

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.

The caboose 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.

Project Update

Meanwhile, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported that the period for quotes on the boxcar retrofit has been extended, after several questions arose about the project specs.

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 acquisition process.

So, instead, Hopkins will be making a donation for the equivalent cost of the materials, O’Dell said.

“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.



Posted 4/6/2018





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