Chesterton Tribune



TIF board told that the fiber optic project is nearing completion

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The conduit for the Town of Chesterton’s fiber-optic network has been laid and the fiber itself is mostly installed.

The “meet-me room” at the municipal complex--the nerve center of the network--is substantially completed.

The network itself has been physically connected to a pre-existing fiber-optic network operated by Spread Networks between New York and Chicago (although it isn’t yet live).

And the network as a whole should be ready soon for testing, starting with the tie-in to the Duneland Schools located in town.

So Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported at Tuesday’s meeting of the Redevelopment Commission. “It’s moving along great,” he said.

Work enough remains, however, for the project’s completion date to be extended, to July 2, under one of three change orders unanimously approved by the commission on Tuesday. Those change orders add a total of $136,177.89 to the original contract price of $1,233,673.91. With previous change orders included, the new project price is $1,508,140.45, an increase of $274,466.54 or 22 percent to the original contract price.

The three new change orders include costs associated with the following: micro-fiber splicing needed but not specified in the original contract; the purchase of asphalt to repair road cuts; locations where the contractor CSU Inc. discovered that boring--a far more expensive procedure than trenching--was required; and the necessity of open-cutting a stretch of South 11th Street, after NIPSCO was unable to definitively locate a six-inch natural-gas main buried beneath it.

Members also agreed unanimously to extend to June 2 its $51,912 construction inspection contract with Lawson-Fischer Associates. The added cost of $11,640 brings the new contract price to a total of $63,552.

South Calumet Road Paving Project

In other business, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported that he has opted to forgo the use of a Tensor fabric layer in the South Calumet Road re-paving project. The idea behind the fabric--which would have been sandwiched between a one-inch asphalt sub-surface and three and half inches of surface--was to reduce the likelihood of “reflective cracking,” that is, the communication of cracks in the concrete beneath the road up through asphalt.

Schnadenberg told the commission that the logistics involved with deploying the fabric would have greatly complicated the project. “We could get into a lot of trouble keeping it in place,” he noted.

Instead, the project’s new specs provide for a milling of the roadway down to bare concrete, applying a one-inch layer of asphalt to level and fill the existing cracks in the concrete, then laying an inch and a half of binder and another inch and a half of surface, for a total four inches of new black top.

Schnadenberg is estimating the cost of the project at $160,000, including striping the roadway. A Community Crossings state infrastructure grant of $40,194.99 will reduce the town’s share of that price tag to approximately $116,024.

Capture Resolution

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to adopt their annual resolution declaring the need to continue capturing tax increment financing revenues from the town’s three different TIF districts.

By making that determination, the commission is reserving for its own use all incremental property-tax revenues paid by the businesses in those three districts, including those which would otherwise be distributed to the other eligible taxing units: the Duneland School Corporation, for instance, and the Westchester Public Library.

Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann did note that that up to 15 percent of this year’s captured TIF revenues will find their way back, indirectly, to the Duneland School Corporation, by way of the cost of connecting the schools to the fiber-optic network.



Posted 5/31/2018






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