Chesterton Tribune

Jeff Trout: Liberty folks don't have all the facts on 49 project

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Two weeks before the Porter County Council is scheduled to consider releasing CEDIT funds to upsize the sanitary sewer line being constructed south of the Indiana Toll Road by the Town of Chesterton, Town Council Members Jeff Trout, R-2nd, is taking issue with misconceptions about the project which he says Liberty Township residents are laboring under.

At the council’s meeting Monday night, Trout noted that, in testimony before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in 2011, Damon Run Conservancy District engineer Charlie Ray specifically stated that the sanitary system installed to serve the new Porter hospital at U.S. Highway 6 and Ind. 49 is of sufficient capacity to serve only the area immediately around the hospital.

It is not of sufficient capacity, however—for example—to serve development east of Ind. 49, Trout quoted Ray as saying.

More: at a minimum the Damon Run’s lift stations would have to be upsized to give it sufficient capacity to go beyond the hospital service area, Trout also quoted Ray as saying.

“There is some confusion on what an eight-inch line can and cannot handle,” Trout said on Monday.

Another misconception: some Liberty folks believe that there is an 18-inch sanitary line running along U.S. 6. There is not, Trout said. The Damon Run eight-inch line serving Porter hospital does not run along U.S. 6.

On the contrary, the line which those Liberty folks are thinking of is a water line, Trout said.

The bottom line, according to Trout: “We are in essence complementary to what’s there. The capacity (Damon Run) can’t handle, we’re proposing to handle. . . . We’re not going to annex anything. We’re trying to help the county create some jobs and grow the economy.”

Meanwhile, the Redevelopment Commission is still taking under advisement the five quotes received for the Ind. 49 Utility Corridor Project, under which the town is installing sanitary sewer, stormwater, water, and fiber optic infrastructure under the Toll Road, across Ind. 49, and up to Chesterton’s southernmost corporate limit.

The lowest bid for installing that infrastructure: $2,128,059, submitted by LGS Plumbing Inc. of Crown Point.

LGS Plumbing also submitted the lowest alternate bid—$742,409—for the upsize of the sanitary line sufficient to serve development along the Ind. 49 corridor outside of the town. That figure would be the county’s share, if the Porter County Council opts to partner with the town and release the CEDIT funds.

The original estimate for the county’s share had been $900,000.

Trout has already said that, should the county not opt to partner with the town now, it could cost millions at some point in the future to rip up the existing sanitary line and upsize it to serve unincorporated development.

Plaza Drive Roadcut

In other business, members voted 5-0 to waive Town Standards and permit Good Oil Company—owner of the B.P. Amoco fronting Indian Boundary Road—to build a third road cut on the property, this one giving onto Plaza Drive East.

Attorney Greg Babcock, representing Good Oil, has said that the two existing road cuts on Indian Boundary Road would be preserved but that the new one, a dedicated right-only exit, would ease some traffic congestion on Indian Boundary Road itself by funneling customers onto Plaza Drive East, with its traffic signal.

The road cut will be installed back far enough from the intersection to allow some stacking at the traffic signal.

The council did attach some conditions to the waiver:

•Additional driveway must be installed. It must be 12 feet in width and have a six-inch tall concrete curb on each side.

•A “No Left Turn” sign must be installed at the exit and two “Do Not Enter” signs outside the exit, meeting the Street Commissioner’s approval.

•Good Oil may not damage the newly re-paved Plaza Drive.

•Good Oil must stake the locations and edges of the proposed driveway at least five days prior to construction, so that the Street Commissioner and Town Engineer may verify the location.

No Raises

Meanwhile, Member Sharon Darnell, D-4th, had some bad news for municipal employees. After crunching the numbers—with Anton Insurance Agency and the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office—she has determined that the new health-care plan implemented last year has not resulted in enough savings to permit raises.

Darnell did say that, late in the year, the numbers can be reassessed.

IDSP Fireworks

Trout took a moment at the end of the meeting to laud the fireworks extravaganza last week at Indiana Dunes State Park. “It’s pretty exciting to see that many local people packed onto the beach,” he said. “It’s really an outstanding show. A bit of the headache with the traffic, but it’s worth it.”

“It wouldn’t be a good fireworks show if it weren’t a little crowded,” added Member Nick Walding, R-3rd.

 

Posted 7/10/2012