Chesterton Tribune

Public park athletic fields east of 49 proposed

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In a special Park Board meeting held Monday, the Chesterton Park Board secured a memorandum of agreement with the developers of the 94-unit Village Green Townhomes, planned in the Coffee Creek Center Planned Unit Development (PUD).

The agreement states specifically that the required park land to be set aside, for the PUD development as a whole, shall be one consolidated parcel, not smaller lots sprinkled throughout. Also, the park unit is to be on the east side of ByPass 49, it was agreed.

The document, approved unanimously by park board president Vincent Emanuele and board members John Kroft, Ted Jacobs and Roy Flaherty, will now be forwarded to the Advisory Plan Commission, which will meet Thursday, Jan. 18.

“I’m concerned it will be two acres here, three acres there,” said Jacobs in recommending the addition of the language requiring the acres to be contiguous.

A total of 17 acres of park land was agreed upon--roughly equivalent to the east unit of Dogwood Park, Kroft noted.

The memorandum calls for the space to be open and “readily adaptable and usable by the entire community for active recreational uses such as softball and soccer, which shall either be dedicated to the Town or maintained by petitioner with appropriate easements for public access and public use.”

The plan for the park development must be approved by the Park Board, the Plan Commission and the Town Council, the memorandum states.

The exact site of the potential park has not yet been determined.

Pat Glen, a consultant appearing on behalf of developer James Gierczyk, said the intention of the developer is “to keep open our options to find the right site.”

Chesterton Development Partners LLC is exploring options to purchase additional parcels, Glen said, which, if successful, could allow for more careful selection of a park site.

Those options “should be resolved in the next 60 days,” Glen added.

Glen also said Gierczyk and his team are in ongoing meetings with other developers to come to agreement on this and other issues.

Cooperation with other developers within the Coffee Creek Center would make sense, said park board member Roy Flaherty, “to provide what the area really needs.” The Conservancy area is great for hiking and biking, but there are other park needs to be met, he said.

Glen said he likes the idea of a ball field complex sufficient to host tourney play.

The Village Green development is planned for the 15 acres at the southeast corner of County Road 1050N and Kelle Drive. Two, three and four-unit buildings are planned.

The original memorandum did not contain the word contiguous, in reference to park land acreage. Park Board members were concerned that could lead to multiple, scattered parcels set aside, none of which could fully meet the need for park space.

Project Attorney Clyde Compton said his client “understands our obligation,” to provide acreage for parks. He and Glen both said the intention is to do what is “best for the community.”

“We understand and agree with your criteria,” Compton said.

Glen added that “Anytime we do anything, we’d be glad to come back [to the park board]. Good development is what the town needs. We want to continue on and work with you and come up with the right park.”

Town attorney Chuck Parkinson agreed that new parties to the PUD will have to sign off on the language in the memorandum.


Posted 1/16/2007