Chesterton Tribune



Stormwater board hears of high profile development projects in the pipeline

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It could be the busiest construction season in the Town of Chesterton in years, at least since the bottom fell out in 2008.

At Mondayís meeting of the Stormwater Management Board, MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala reported that her office has approved, or is in the process of approving, stormwater pollution prevention permits for a number of high-profile projects.

Those projects include the new Culverís at Coffee Creek Center, just north of the Speedway on Gateway Blvd., work on which has already begun; the extension of Gateway Blvd. to the east and the construction of a bridge over Coffee Creek, to serve Urschel Laboratories Inc.; the Stone Meadows residential subdivision on 1100N, just east of 23rd Street on the south side of the roadway; and the Holiday Inn Express, just west of Ind. 49 behind the Indian Oak Mall, Gadzala said.

After the Storm

In other business, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported that, in the wake of the heavy rain event on May 11--when numerous storm drains ended up clogged with debris--heís pretty much had two guys doing nothing but cleaning drains around town: some 300 of them at last count, he said.

Town Engineer Mark OíDell, for his part, noted that the Valís Pizza lift station performed exactly as it was intended to perform during storm: it pumped like a champ, in fact it pumped some 10,000 gallons of runoff from the alley behind Valís, the lowest area in town.

The only problem: two storm drains in that alley ended up being blocked by debris, which caused some minor flooding at Valís despite the pumpís best efforts, OíDell said.

Migratory Shorebird Sanctuary

Earlier in the evening, the Porter County Parks Foundation made roughly the same presentation to the Stormwater Management Board that it did to the Town Council on April 14: on the proposed migratory shorebird sanctuary which the foundation is hoping to create on the old wetland site west of 11th Street and directly opposite the entrance to Westchester Intermediate School.

ďRight now itís a desolate place,Ē Dick Maxey said, but restored it would provide an excellent habitat for migratory shorebirds and a boost to tourism, as birders from around the state would be happy to drive to Chesterton for a shot at seeing rarities.

The trick will be to find funding for the project, Maxey said, and while the foundation is not in any way asking the town for a handout, it would be helpful if the town could see its way clear to applying for grants on the foundationís behalf, inasmuch ďas a lot of grants require government agencies to apply and the Porter County Parks Foundation is not a government agency.Ē

One thing did catch the interest of President Thomas Kopko: what impact would restoration of the wetland have on surrounding properties?

Matt Keiser of Abonmarche, an engineering firm working with the foundation, said in reply that heís hopeful of the foundationís receiving a grant from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, which would be used to cover the cost of a hydrological study, with precisely that issue in mind.

April in Review

In April the Stormwater Utility ran a surplus of $11,612 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $61,811.



Posted 5/21/2014




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