Chesterton Tribune


New Chesterton tree share program already popular

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Two weeks after the Chesterton Town Council approved a street tree-share program, four residents have already signed up for it.

At the council’s meeting Monday night, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported that it didn’t take long for the new program to get traction. Already, he said, four households have decided to pay the $75, in exchange for which the Street Department will purchase and plant a six- to 12-foot tree in the right-of-way of the resident’s home, generally that strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street.

The residents, for their part, agree to water and maintain the newly planted tree.

“We think this is going to turn out to be a pretty good program,” Schnadenberg said.

The number of applications which the Street Department will accept every year is limited, so persons wanting to take advantage of the program should complete one now.

Applications are available from the Street Department at the municipal complex at 1490 Broadway.

Retrofit Grant

Schnadenberg also reported that four of the seven diesel-run vehicles in the town’s fleet are eligible for retrofitting, under a 100-percent pay-back grant offered through South Shore Clean Cities and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC).

That diesel-oxidation grant will pay for the replacement of the four vehicles’ muffler systems, Schnadenberg said.

The cost of the retrofit: $10,170.36, which is completely refundable, Schnadenberg added.

NIRPC itself is bidding out the retrofit contract and will handle the logistics of the job.

Aquatech Expertise

Meanwhile, at Schnadenberg’s recommendation, members agreed unanimously to increase the hourly wage of up to four Street Department workers by 50 cents, after they have been trained to operate and maintain the Stormwater Utility’s new Aquatech jetting truck.

That truck is similar to the Sanitary Sewer Utility’s vacuum truck but has additional capabilities and will be used for jetting and cleaning the town’s stormwater sewer system.

The Aquatech vehicle is an “expensive unit,” has “a lot of gauges and meters on it,” and a great deal of special training “is necessary to learn how to operate it,” Schnadenberg said. He accordingly asked for the wage increase for the four workers who will eventually man it.

“It’s worth the extra to have people properly trained on it,” Schnadenberg said.

Two workers are being qualified on the truck now, he added. Two more will be qualified on it next year.

The Stormwater Management Board purchased the Aquatech truck in August at cost of $295,000.



Posted 12/11/2013