Chesterton Tribune

Dunes/Kankakee Trail route through Chesterton firming up

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The heavy lifting’s been done and now it’s just a matter of finalizing some details and getting good cost estimates.

At the Chesterton Town Council’s meeting Monday night, Gregg Calpino of SEH Inc. told members that a preferred alternative for the Duneland Kankakee Trail’s route through town has been identified. Now SEH will prepare a final version of the route, calculate the probable costs, and review possible funding sources.

The preferred route won’t come cheap, however, and is actually the most expensive of the various alternatives discussed, with rough estimates of $1 million to $1.3 million per mile. At either 5.3 miles in length or 6.5 miles—depending on which of two northern leg options is chosen—the trail would cost a minimum of $5.3 million and a maximum of $8,450,000.

Town officials have said that Chesterton portion of the trail would have to be funded through grants.

Where the trail enters Chesterton depends a great deal on where it ends in Porter. The preferred alternative has two different entry points: at North Jackson Blvd., then south to Broadway; or overland north of town, then south along North Calumet Road.

If the former, the route would proceed east as far as Second Street, then south to West Indiana Ave., and east to South Calumet Road. If the latter, the route would veer east into Coffee Creek Park at a point to be determined, proceed south as far as Lois Lane, then hit West Indiana Ave. and thence South Calumet Road.

Under both versions, the trail would continue south along South Calumet Road to 100E, then east on Rail Road, south on Kelle Drive past Sidewalk Road, and south on Village Point to Gateway Blvd. and ultimately Ind. 49.

Calpino expects to have the final version and cost estimates completed by the end of August.

Bidding Out Utility Corridor

In other business, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell promised Member Sharon Darnell, D-4th, that he would do everything humanly possible to ensure that the Ind. 49 utility corridor project goes out to bid by the end of the month.

Darnell, for her part, was adamant on the subject. “We need to move,” she said. “We need to get this done. I’ve had so many calls from people wondering what’s happening, why it hasn’t started. It’s got to happen in the last week of May. It’s got to go to bid in the last week of May.”

DVG Inc., the contracted project engineer, has estimated the cost of extending sanitary sewer, stormwater, water, and fiber optic infrastructure under the Indiana Toll Road, across Ind. 49, and to the town’s southernmost limits at $3.6 million.

The project will be funded with tax increment financing moneys.

Public Hearing

Meanwhile, members voted 4-0 to hold a public hearing at their next meeting, Tuesday, May 29, on a resolution which would re-up the Cumulative Capital Development fund (CCD) at the same tax rate: $0.04 per $100 of assessed valuation. Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, was not in attendance.

The CCD is used exclusively for the purchase of emergency vehicles.

Last year the council raised the CCD’s dedicated tax rate from $0.0017 to $0.04. Fifteen years ago or thereabouts, the CCD’s rate was all of 12 cents per $100 but the state reduced that rate.

Splash Down Dunes

Member Jim Ton, R-1st, took a moment at the end of the meeting to give the Town of Porter kudos for its efforts to get the old Splash Down Dunes water park up and running again.

“It’s a terrible eye sore,” Ton noted, but it’s also “a prime location,” and it would be a welcome source of summer jobs—even long-term jobs—in Duneland.



Posted 5/15/2012