In 2007 the Town of Chesterton closed its compost site in Crocker to
out-of-towners, when it became clear that it had neither the resources nor
the manpower to handle the grass cuttings and leaves of folks who live in
unincorporated Porter County.
At that time Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg took a seat on a steering
committee, created by the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter
County (RWRDPC), whose charge was to explore the feasibility of establishing
a new compost site somewhere in North Porter County specifically to serve
As Schnadenberg told the Town Council at its meeting Monday night, however,
that effort “fizzled out after a few months.”
“But we still get a lot of calls from out-of-towners wanting to know where
they can take their grass clippings,” he noted. Nowhere near: the closest
site is in Valparaiso, at 2150 W. Lincolnway (Ind. 130), one mile west of
the intersection with Joliet Road.
“County elected officials don’t seem that interested” in a North County
compost site, Schnadenberg said, possibly because it would be expensive.
“The big problem is funding.”
Any new compost site would need to be at least 15 to 20 acres in size, he
added—every fall, just for example, Schnadenberg’s crews haul 200 dump-truck
loads of residents’ leaves to the site in Crocker—and as Member Sharon
Darnell, D-4th, observed, the best potential sites, with good frontages and
easy access, are located on prime land.
So that’s where matters stand.
But at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor
Center on Ind. 49, the RWRDPC will hold a public input session to give
unincorporated residents the chance to voice their interest in a new North
County compost site. Both the towns of Chesterton and Porter will be
represented at that meeting, and Schnadenberg urged anyone in Westchester,
Liberty, Jackson, or Pine township who’s sick and tired of driving to Valpo
to drop off leaves and grass to attend.
In other business, members voted 5-0 to approve a list of paving projects as
recommended by Schnadenberg. The total estimated cost of those 10 projects:
$521,297, much more—much, much more—than the town can afford to fund in a
Schnadenberg said that it may take as many as three seasons to complete the
list but in any event he will try to complete the first four projects on it
•Woodlawn Ave. between Waverly Road and Ottawa Trail, a joint project with
the Town of Porter. Chesterton’s estimated share of the cost: $82,087.
•15th Street from Broadway north to the Norfolk Southern grade-crossing.
Estimated cost: $23,290.
•200E repairs: $10,000.
•Fifth Street from 1050N to 1100N, including 600 feet of 1050N west of Fifth
Street. Estimated cost: $130,070.
•1100N from Dickinson Road to Sand Creek Drive North, then Sand Creek Drive
South to the gates. Estimated cost: $65,000.
•South Jackson Blvd. from West Porter Ave. to Portage Ave. Estimated cost:
•From the 600 block of 20th Street south to Union Ave., then Union Ave. west
to 21st Street. Estimated cost: $18,000.
•Wren Court, Read Drive, and Jones Court in the Duneland Cove subdivision.
Estimated cost: $41,850.
•East Porter Ave. from Cherry Hills Drive east to C.R. 250E. Estimated cost:
President Jeff Trout, R-2nd, did remark that Schnadenberg’s recommendation
earlier in the year to lock in last year’s asphalt price—a recommendation
heeded by the council—was a wise one.
By 5-0 votes, members also approved two uses of the town’s share of casino
The first use: a pilot program, at a cost of $5,000—of the $33,000 in casino
moneys earmarked for sidewalk repair and replacement—under which a
saw-cutting company from Michigan will use a new device to shave off an inch
or two from a selection of tripping-hazard sidewalks in one of the older
parts of town. The company charges $35 for each individual treatment,
Schnadenberg said, compared to $300 or so for completely removing the old
section of sidewalk and re-pouring it. “That’s pretty cost-effective.”
The second use: the installation of decorative slip covers over a number of
street signs and lamp posts missed the first time around, most of them
uptown and around the town hall. Cost: $3,966.
Meanwhile, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported, the Downtown utility project
is “moving along slowly but efficiently.” The sanitary sewer main being
replaced is located 16 to 18 feet below the surface of South Calumet Road
and the crews are finding a lateral every section of pipe. But so far, he
said, nothing unexpected.
Indiana-American Water Company’s contractor, Woodruff & Sons of Michigan
City, has completed work on the new water main, O’Dell added, and the
re-paving of North Calumet Road—the southbound lane to be done by the town,
the northbound lane by Indiana-American—should begin in a couple of weeks.