Chesterton Tribune



Skateboarder pushes back on decision to demolish skate park

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The Chesterton Park Board’s decision last week--made at Park Superintendent Bruce Mathias’ recommendation--to permanently dismantle the skate park off South 15th Street is not sitting well with one of the skaters who originally helped get the park off the ground.

At the Town Council’s meeting Monday night, Sean Cromwell expressed both his shock and dismay at news of the skate park’s impending demolition. “My jaw dropped when I read this in the paper,” he said.

“We worked really hard to get the skate park 10 years ago,” Cromwell told the council. “It was really tough to get it going. Three years of raising funds.”

Cromwell did make note of the “riff-raff” who’ve been known to congregate at the park as well as of the occasional vandalism there. “But it’s not the skateboarders trashing their own stuff. That would be stupid.”

But Cromwell disputed the reason given by Mathias for the need to dismantle the park: that it’s old and rickety. In fact, Cromwell said, he and other skateboarders perform annual maintenance and repairs on the facility, removing some pieces and rebuilding others. “It’s a huge community thing, coming together every year. Demolishing the park would be taking something away that kids could work for. It means a lot to have that skate park there.”

Cromwell added that the skate park is one of the venues for the annual Life Fest suicide awareness event held every summer, and that instead of demolishing it the far better solution would be for the Park Board to work with the skaters to make it “as safe and aesthetically pleasing as possible.”

One person at the meeting--who declined to give his name--agreed with Cromwell. “I really wish we had a skate park when I grew up here,” he told the council.

The council, for its part, was happy to listen to Cromwell but otherwise noncommittal. “Some of us remember the effort it took to put that up, but it’s the Park Board’s decision to make,” said Member Jim Ton, R-5th.

“You’re welcome to talk to us but you should go to the Park Board,” agreed President Lloyd Kittredge, R-2nd.

Member Nate Cobbs, R-4th--the liaison to the Park Department--said much the same thing. “I think the Park Board is a good place to start.”

The Park Board will next meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, at the town hall.

Cromwell is currently circulating an on-line petition to save the skate park:

Snow Ban Ordinance

In other business, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg asked the council’s permission to work with legal on an amendment to the 30-year-old snow ban ordinance which regulates on-street parking in residential neighborhoods during the winter: that is, the ordinance requires folks to park their vehicles on one side of the street on odd-numbered days, and on the other side on even-numbered days.

That ordinance is overly complicated and only very rarely enforced, Schnadenberg said, but some type of snow ban is necessary, because on-street parking during heavy snowfalls not only makes the plow driver’s job difficult and hazardous but also makes snow-clearing operations highly inefficient.

Schnadenberg suggested some version of the Town of Porter’s snow ban, which prohibits on-street parking in residential neighborhoods during “snow emergencies,” namely, falls of three inches or more. The trick, Schnadenberg said, will be to determine what exactly constitutes a snow emergency.

By consensus members authorized Schnadenberg to begin work on an amended snow-ban ordinance.

NIRPC Tree Grant

Schnadenberg also reported that he’s applied for a no-match grant from the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission which would defray the cost of acquiring 30 or so new trees.

Those trees would be planted primarily in the Morgan Park neighborhood, the town’s oldest subdivision whose trees have mostly matured and many of which have had to be removed, Schnadenberg said.

Early Voting

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to authorize the use of the town hall for early voting in the primary election.

Early voting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays starting on April 10, as well as on the two Saturdays before Election Day, May 8: on April 28 and May 5.

O’Dell Made Agent

Members also voted unanimously to appoint Town Engineer Mark O’Dell the town’s official agent for appearances before the Board of Zoning Appeals.

As Associate Town Attorney Connor Nolan noted, the boxcar restroom and caboose project currently being pursued by the Park Board will require certain--and at this time unspecified--variances from the Town Code, and the town is not exempt from the need to secure them.

O’Dell, accordingly, will formally petition the BZA for those variance and appear on the town’s behalf.



Posted 2/13/2018




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