Chesterton Tribune

Message to the grownups: Don't let vandals win

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By MARGARET L WILLIS

When a Porter Cove resident asked the Chesterton Park Board to remove a paint vandalized bench from the corner of the Prairie-Duneland bike trail and Pearson Rd., park board member Roy Flaherty respectfully declined.

Nancy Hiatt, president of the Porter Cove Homeowners Association appeared before the board Tuesday evening to make the request.

She said the vandalized bench looks tacky and that though the neighbors are “vigilant,” vandals have defaced it.

Flaherty offered to re-paint the bench, himself, but said as far as he’s concerned removing the bench would mean the vandals “win.”

Flaherty has recently volunteered his time to repaint the restroom building at the Prairie-Duneland trailhead near Jackson Blvd., which has been spray paint damaged again on all four of its exterior walls. “I spent two days painting,” he said, and “that lasted less than 30 days.” But, he added, he’s determined not to let petty criminals win.

The answer, Flaherty says, is for adults in the communities of Porter and Chesterton and surrounding areas to commit to putting a stop to it. “We all have to lean on this,” he said, “We can’t let these 15 year-olds run the town.

“When you see something suspicious, report it to the police,” he urged, announcing the business line for the Chesterton Police, 926-1136. The Porter Police non-emergency number is 926-7611 and Burns Harbor’s is 787-9412.

“Who are these kids?” he asked , “Are they gang wanna be’s?”

Flaherty, a life-long Chesterton resident, added, “We need to say NO, this is not going to happen in my town.”

He said he’s asking the general public to help put a stop to the criminal behavior. “If we don’t stop it, we’ve given up,” he said.

Flaherty pledged to paint the bench and asked nearby residents to “mark their calendars” to see how long the new paint job would last.

Hiatt said she and her neighbors are also concerned about worsening drainage problems in the swale along the Prairie-Duneland Trail in the area abutting the backyards of houses on Essex Drive.

The area was pretty just a few years ago, she said, but now has standing water for long periods of time, leading to bugs, mosquitoes and dead vegetation.

“I’m asking for help,” she said.

The park is willing to help, but changes in storm water drainage must come under specific planning rules, board members pointed out.

Hiatt’s next stop needs to be the town of Porter’s Storm Water Management Board. She agreed to make that visit, and sought the park board’s pledge to help resolve the problem once a plan is in place.

“Just keep in mind, I’ll be back,” she said.

The trail, owned by the town of Chesterton, goes through the town of Porter on the abandoned EJ&E rail right-of-way.

One other issue Hiatt raised, dead tree limb trimming, is simply a matter of communication with Park Superintendent Bruce Mathias, board members said.

 

Posted 7/2/2008