Chesterton Tribune



Stormwater board eyes bonus for Jennifer Gadzala

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Jennifer Gadzala is, by title, the Chesterton MS4 Operator, which is to say that under her primary job description she’s responsible for administering the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System program, a federally mandated initiative aimed at reducing the release of pollution--like construction-site sediment, dog waste, and fertilizer and herbicides--into receiving waters.

But Gadzala is also the town’s GIS guru, who over the years has painstakingly digitized and mapped nearly every storm and sanitary sewer in Chesterton, every manhole, every piece of identifiable and locatable infrastructure under the ground and on top it.

Gadzala’s attention to detail was instrumental in the town’s successful application--two years in a row--for a Community Crossings state infrastructure grant.

And more recently Gadzala was the brains behind the enormously successful crowdfunding campaign which raised more than $70,000 in additional funding for the boxcar restroom project in Thomas Centennial Park.

So yeah, Gadzala proves her value-added worth to the town pretty much every day she walks into the office.

Which is why, at its meeting Monday night, the Stormwater Management Board voted unanimously to recommend that the Town Council award Gadzala a one-time only bonus of $2,500, in recognition of superior service.

“Jennifer has continually gone over and above what I have expected from someone in her position,” President Tom Kopko said. “She has showed herself to be a conscientious and exemplary employee as long as I have worked with her. From her work with the educational portion of our stormwater commitment to the housekeeping and audit functions, she has always gone the extra mile to ensure that the Town of Chesterton surpasses state requirements and consistently gets commendations from the state governing body.”

Gadzala, for her part, expressed her gratitude to the board. “I love working for the town and I like making everything go as smoothly and best as I can,” she said.

In other business, Town Council Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, speaking on behalf of Bob and Heidi Meyer, residents of Woodlawn Ave. across the street from State Park Little League, urged the board to consider a longstanding drainage problem in the neighborhood.

The issue, DeLaney said: the homes in the 700 and 800 blocks of Woodlawn, south of the roadway, were built in the bottom of a natural bowl with nowhere for runoff to go. In heavy rains--like the four-incher in February, on top of a rapid snowmelt--the pooling in the backyards of these homes is considerable.

The Meyers long ago installed a dry well in their front yard but it hasn’t proved especially effective, DeLaney said. “They’ve gone through a lot of sump pumps.”

Yet there may be a solution, DeLaney suggested. While installing a new water line, Indiana American Water Company discovered what appears to be an abandoned 12-inch storm sewer pipe. If an inlet were installed connecting to that pipe, the pooling problem could be remedied, he said.

Town Engineer Mark O’Dell promised to look at the issue but warned there are complications. For one thing, gravity is working against the homeowners: a lift station would likely need to be installed to pump the water uphill to any inlet. But even then there's no good place to flow the water to. There’s no stormwater sewer system in the area and the runoff can't go north, O’Dell said, “because State Park Little League has its own water problem.”

Sand Creek/Porter Ave.

Meanwhile, O’Dell reported that he’s working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to extend the 30-day permit for working in a salmonid stream issued in connection with the replacement of the bridge on East Porter Ave. over Sand Creek.

The issue: the actual manufacture of the box culvert which will replace the bridge is taking longer than expected, O’Dell said.

East Porter Ave. between Dickinson Road and 250E is closed for the duration of the project.

May in Review

In May the Stormwater Utility ran a surplus of $14,157 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $91,088.



Posted 6/20/2018




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