of Kipper Park, serving Westchester South, is complete--although, as
Chesterton Town Engineer Mark O’Dell told the Park Board at its meeting
Tuesday night--“one of the new trees looks a little iffy.”
The rehab of Waskom
Park, serving Duneland Cove, is substantially complete, on the other
hand, although some grading will have to wait until the ground is dry and
the tennis and basketball courts still need their nets.
By unanimous votes
members agreed to accept final completion of the Kipper project and
substantial completion of the Waskom project, and accordingly to re-open
both parks to the public.
tennis court at Waskom, however, proved to be a chicken bone in the throat
of Rob Petro, who from the floor wanted to know when exactly the net will be
installed. “If you deliver it, we’ll do it ourselves,” he told the board.
That won’t happen,
President Candy Tucker replied. It really has to be done by the Park
“It feels like if
it were on the west side of town, this would be done already,” Petro
pressed. “But it’s on the east side of town.” He added that, though the park
may be officially closed, kids for some time have been playing basketball in
the basketball court and lacrosse in the tennis court.
Member Paul Shinn
admitted being taken aback by Petro. “I thought you guys were hear to thank
us for the park.”
“I will say
thank you,” Petro said. “The tennis court looks beautiful. But you can’t use
it. So it would be wonderful if the Park Department could take the time and
put up the net. We’re actually spending more man-hours here in the meeting
talking about this than it would take to put up the net.”
O’Dell did suggest
that there are 12 other tennis courts located in town.
Which doesn’t do
any good to the “six CHS tennis team members who live in the neighborhood
but don’t drive,” Petro said.
Matt Jewison, a
neighbor, agreed with Petro. “It’s sad that it’s taking this long to
happen,” he said. “That’s all we can do, is come and complain.”
Here’s the point,
Shinn told Petro and Jewison. The board only just accepted substantial
completion on Waskom, and not until that point could the board re-open the
park to the public. And substantial completion was dependent on the
contractor, Gariup Construction Company, being able to get the work done.
But June was almost as rainy as May. “Gariup is at the mercy of the
weather,” Shinn said. “And the nets couldn’t be installed until the Park
Board opened the park.”
So when will
the nets be installed? Petro insisted.
“I’ll give you a
date,” O’Dell said. “It’ll be done before Aug. 6,” when the Park Board next
Petro had one other
bone to pick with the board. Reminding members that he had previously
suggested converting the currently soggy ground at Waskom into a sledding
hill, Petro wanted to know whether the board is interested in such a
There’’s a sledding
hill in town already, Shinn reminded Petro: at Coffee Creek Park.
“But that’s on the
west side of town,” Petro said. “And people on the east side of town are
forced to cross Ind. 49. We’re landlocked on this side of town.”
“A sledding hill
we’ll have to consider at a later date,” Tucker said. “A sledding hill is
not a priority at this time.”
In other business,
Mathias reported that work continued this week on the splash pad, which
remains out of service after heavy rains in May dislodged and floated the
pad’s control vault up and out of the ground, sheering off the pipes in the
The solution, still
in the works: pouring 14 or 15 cubic yards of concrete slab into the bottom
of the hole and then securing the vault to the slab, to anchor it beyond all
possibility of future movement.
The rains which
caused the problem in the first place, however, have hindered repairs. This
week a Vactor truck supplied by the Stormwater Utility removed six inches of
mud from the hole, into which Mathias poured an 18-inch base of gravel.
Concrete forms and rebar were then installed and Mathias is now preparing to
set “kickers” in place to brace the forms and prevent “blowout” when the
concrete tonnage is actually poured, probably early next week.
course, on the weather.
Once the concrete
has set, Mathias will re-connect the pipes and electric, then run the splash
pad for at least a week “to make sure there are no leaks.”
Mathias still can’t
say definitively when the splash pad might be returned to service but is
confident that sometime this summer both it and the kids will be back in
Mathias did express
his gratitude to the Stormwater Utility, the Fire Department, and the Street
Department for their all-hands assistance this week.
Operator Jennifer Gadzala reported that seven video surveillance cameras
have been installed on and about the boxcar restroom facility in Thomas
Centennial Park. The cameras are all live and may be monitored remotely by
select staff on smartphone, PC, and iPad; and they have zoom/save/download
Also: the fencing
around the boxcar restroom and caboose comfort station has been completed,
solar deck lighting installed, and all signage placed, including a donation
The plaque is
“absolutely beautiful,” Tucker noted.
Gadzala said that she will be ordering landscaping lighting next week but is
still waiting on a landscape design.
The Cleanup Day at
Coffee Creek Park on Saturday, June 15, was hugely successful, Gadzala was
happy to report, although “some people got poison ivy” and there was a
“pouring freezing rain.”
Yet neither toxic
plants nor foul weather succeeded in dampening the spirits of the 17
volunteers--three town employees, two Park Board members, and a Town Council
members--who cut back something like 45 cubic yards of brush along Lois Lane
and removed a beaver dam from beneath the bridge.
Another cleanup day
will be held late in August or early in September, Gadzala added.
Mathias took a
moment to say a few words about last month’s edition of Chesterton Cruise
Night, on Saturday, June 29, in the Downtown.
“We had an
excellent turnout,” he said.