Chesterton Tribune



Schnadenberg declares war on beaver dams west of 11th Street

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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.

But there’s 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.

Beaver activity 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 the council.

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.”

Rieth-Riley is 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. ($115,813.60).

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 thinks--to 1929.

“It’s a tremendous job,” Ton said. “They make the old concrete look good.”

Arbor Day

Schnadenberg also reported that the Street Department planted 14 trees on Arbor Day, Saturday, April 27.

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

Finally, 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.



Posted 5/14/2019




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