Chesterton Tribune



NIRPC awards town $120K grant for Westchester/Liberty Trail along 1100N

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The Town of Chesterton has received from NIRPC yet another grant--the third, in fact--for Phase II of the Westchester-Liberty Trail, this one in the amount of $120,835.

So Town Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st, announced at the council’s meeting Monday. Ton is vice-chair of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.

Ton said that this latest grant is to be used for the acquisition of any right-of-way which might be needed in Phase II, which will extend the hike-bike sidewalk along the north side of 1100N from the Rosehill Estates subdivision as far east as Fifth Street.

The grant brings NIRPC’s total contribution to Phase II of the trail to $1,074,394. NIRPC awarded its first Westchester-Liberty grant of $405,834 to the town in May 2013. It awarded a second grant of $547,725 in July 2014.

When completed, the Westchester-Liberty Trail will extend along 1100N from 23rd Street to 100E and then south to Rail Road, effectively linking Dogwood Park and Coffee Creek Center. Phase I of the trail--from 23rd Street to Rosehill Estates--was completed some years ago. Phase II, however, subsequently became bogged down not simply by a lack of funding but at least as much by the designated wetland east of Rosehill Estates and west of 11th Street, which presents special engineering and permitting challenges.

“That’s good news,” said Member Nick Walding, R-3rd, of the grant.

“It’s important to get that trail in place, because it’s a trail but it’s also a sidewalk,” Ton agreed.

“That’ll make it safe for the kids,” added Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th.

Pedestrian Signage

In other business, Ton had one other announcement to make: INDOT, he has learned at NIRPC, intends to erect some sort of signage warning motorists on Ind. 49 of the possibility of pedestrians trying to cross at the intersection of Indian Boundary Road.

That intersection is not an officially designated pedestrian crossing and for that reason it can’t be striped as a crosswalk, Ton noted, as doing so would mean the traffic signals would have to be re-timed.

But Ton said that he has made INDOT aware of the particular danger to pedestrians posed by highway traffic traveling at 60 miles per hour or faster. “I just hold my breath because I’ve seen kids trying to dash across.”

Ton doesn’t know what form the signage will take but it’s likely to be the best the town can hope for, under the circumstances. “That should have been an overpass when it was put in or a cloverleaf,” he said. “Now there are all sorts of problems if we try to put in a crosswalk. That’s not going to happen.”

Ind. 49 Re-paving

Anyone who’s dodged the potholes on Ind. 49 this winter--or washboarded through them--knows that it needs to be re-surfaced.

That won’t happen this year, Walding took a moment to note at the end of the meeting. It will happen next year, as INDOT is preparing to bid the project out now in time for the contractor to start work as soon as the weather breaks in the spring of 2016.

In the meantime, Walding expressed the hope that INDOT does “some decent patching on 49 to get us through the year,” while at the same time reminding folks that Ind. 49 is not a municipal roadway at all but a state one on which the Chesterton Street Department has no authority to perform repairs or fixes of any kind.



Posted 3/24/2015




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