When water began
lapping over the sidewalk along South 11th Street last week--from the
wetlands to the east near Westchester Intermediate School’s rear
entrance--Chesterton Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg had a pretty good
idea that at least part of the problem was the six or so inches of rain
which have fallen on Duneland in the last 10 days.
something lurking in the wetlands, Schnadenberg subsequently discovered, and
it doesn’t give a dam about whom it floods out: beaver, as in busy as.
On beating his way
into the bush around Griffin Lake, whose level had become dangerously high,
and then by the headwaters of the Peterson Ditch--a few hundred feet east of
14th Street at Portage Ave.--Schnadenberg and his crew found two different
beaver dams which were blocking the free westerly flow of water, causing the
runoff east of the dams to back up, and up, and up.
The beaver dam at
Griffin Lake was a monster, Schnadenberg reported to the Town Council at its
meeting Monday night: an arc 20 feet long and a good three feet high. The
dam at the Peterson Ditch headwaters was no slouch either: 10 to 12 feet
long and also a yard high. Both were exceedingly well engineered and rock
solid, so much so that Schnadenberg was forced to rent a mini-excavator to
remove them, and in the process properly get the goat of one beaver, a
40-pounder who--he said--swam threatening circles around his men and beat
the water angrily with its tail.
some years ago played havoc in Coffee Creek Park and has been doing the same
at Indiana Dunes State Park, essentially altering the latter’s hydrology and
swamping the old boardwalk near the northern terminus of Trail 2.
Getting rid of
beavers is a hassle too. Except for a brief hunting season in the winter,
beavers may only be live-trapped, at considerable cost, Schnadenberg told
For now, at least,
the water is flowing freely from east to west, and--though the situation is
being monitored on a daily basis--Schnadenberg said that he’s hopeful the
beavers will be good chaps and move on to greener pastures.
Paving to Begin
In other business,
Schnadenberg reported that paving contractors Rieth-Riley Construction
Company and Walsh & Kelly Inc. are set to begin work on five of the six
roadwork projects being partially funded by a 50/50 Community Crossings
state infrastructure grant.
“We’re going to hit
the ground running,” Schnadenberg said. “It’s going to be a long summer.”
scheduled to start work on Tuesday, May 28, on the re-pave of South 11th
Street from Park Ave. to 1100N (contract price $279,542.25). Rieth-Riley was
also awarded the contract for the re-pave of South Eighth Street from West
Porter Ave. to Broadway ($79,847).
Walsh & Kelly,
meanwhile, is scheduled to start work on Monday, June 10, on the re-pave of
100E from 1100N to 1050N ($83,218.40), and was also awarded the contracts
for the following: West Porter Ave. from South Calumet Road to South Eighth
Street ($107,755.75); and 15th Street from Woodlawn Ave. to Washington Ave.
Member Jim Ton,
R-1st, did take a moment to congratulate Schnadenberg on the fine job done
by Walsh & Kelly replacing the curbs along East Morgan Ave. from from Wilson
Street to Roosevelt Street, the sixth of the Community Crossings projects.
The old curbs were original to Morgan Park, dating back--Schnadenberg
“It’s a tremendous
job,” Ton said. “They make the old concrete look good.”
reported that the Street Department planted 14 trees on Arbor Day, Saturday,
Six were planted
along South 15th Street between Broadway and West Porter Ave; five on North
Eighth Street by the old Westchester Lanes bowling alley and one at the
corner of South Eighth Street and Broadway at the town hall; two along East
Indiana Ave. in Morgan Park.
Public Works Pow-Wow
Schnadenberg expressed his gratitude to Porter County Highway Superintendent
Rich Sexton for organizing and hosting at the Porter County Expo a
brain-storming session for local public works directors.
It was a good
meeting, Schnadenberg said, at which he and Sexton discussed possible joint
re-paving projects of roadways shared by the Town of Chesterton and
unincorporated Porter County.