Chesterton Tribune



TIF board wants answers on brick pavers from LEL president

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Steve Connor, president of the Lake Erie Land Company, made one thing abundantly clear to the Chesterton Redevelopment Commission at its meeting Monday night: he very much disliked learning of the commission’s concerns about the condition of the brick road pavers at Coffee Creek Center from a story in the Chesterton Tribune.

What he declined to make abundantly clear, on the other hand, is when exactly Lake Erie Land plans to repair the pavers or else replace them with an asphalted road surface.

A month ago, at its May meeting, the commission instructed Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann to draft a letter to Connor expressing members’ displeasure with the condition of the pavers--many of which are chipped, crumbling, or altogether missing, particularly along Village Point--and requesting some idea of when Lake Erie Land intends to fix the problem.

The Tribune duly reported that fact in a story which, Connor said on Monday, took him rather by surprise. “I’d be less than honest if I didn’t say I was less than pleased I got the ‘notice’ in the newspaper,” he said. Evidently the property owners at Coffee Creek Center--who’ll be on the hook for repairing or replacing the pavers--were less than pleased too, Connor noted, because they “started calling us. It was a bit disconcerting. I’d like to say that for the record.”

As it happens, Connor said, Lake Erie Land is in the process right now of preparing specs for an asphalt re-surfacing and expects to go out to bid in August. When the numbers are all in, a decision will be made by the property owners at Coffee Creek Center whether to repair the pavers or just chuck them and put in asphalt instead.

When would the work--whatever it ends up being--actually get done? Member Jeff Trout wanted to know.

“It’s in the process,” Connor replied. “I can’t disclose all of that. But it’s in the process. It’s a matter for the property owners. They have to meet and discuss it.”

Keith Sharpe, Lake Erie Land’s project manager, was a bit more specific than Connor: expect nothing significant to be accomplished in 2016. “If anything gets done this year, it’ll be small compared to what has to be done,” he said.

Member Emerson DeLaney wanted Connor to be clear on one salient point in particular: the Town of Chesterton will never accept brick-pavered roadways in its inventory and bears no responsibility for maintaining them. That burden is solely Lake Erie Land’s--and that of the property owners at Coffee Creek Center. “You understand that if you decide to go with pavers, the town will never accept the roads,” he said. “If you go with asphalt to town specs, then the town will accept them and you’ll be out of the road maintenance business.”

“It’s no secret,” Trout remarked, that the town advised against the use of brick pavers all those years ago. And the pavers’ current condition indicates why: they don’t wear well, ground frost tends to dislodge them in the winter, and then they get decapitated by the snow plow. That sort of thing began happening virtually from the beginning, when there wasn’t much traffic in Coffee Creek Center, Trout said. Now there’s a lot of traffic and with new construction projects coming on line there’s going to be more of it. “You really need to get it resolved sooner rather than later.”

Cottonwood Danger

Member John Swibes had one other issue to raise with Connor: at the T-intersection where Voyage Blvd. deadends at Village Point there’s a pair of dead and rotting cottonwood trees.

Those trees, Swibes said, are “very large” and “almost hollow” and it would take but a breath of wind to topple them. “Those are going to come down and kill people, crush cars. This is an immediate safety issue.”

Connor promised the commission that he would determine who owns the property in question and has responsibility for the trees.


Posted 6/29/2016




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