platform went live last week and as of 3:30 p.m. Monday 16 donations had
been pledged totaling $2,575.
More: destined for
the Patronicity kitty will be all funds raised through a round-up initiative
at Hopkins Ace Hardware, 325 S. Calumet Road in Chesterton. Through April
18, all customers at Hopkins Ace will be asked if they wish to round-up
their purchase to the nearest dollar, and that extra change will then be
made over to Patronicity.
Mark Hopkins, owner
of the hardware store, told the Park Board at its meeting Tuesday night that
the store is averaging around $50 per day in round-ups, and he figures that
by April 18 the initiative will have raised upwards of $2,000.
The key right now,
Gadzala said, is to get the word out. To that end she has presented, or is
scheduled to present, the boxcar restroom project to Chesterton/Porter
Rotary, the Chesterton Branding Leadership Team, and the Duneland Chamber of
Commerce. She and Park Board Member Candy Tucker will also have a booth at
the Chamber’s Corkscrew & Brew event on Saturday, March 17, in Thomas
The benefits of the
restroom project are many, Gadzala told the council. For one thing, there’s
a genuine need for permanent restroom facilities in the heavily used park,
which is currently being served by a portable chemical toilet. The train
cars themselves are expected to be a popular draw for railroading
enthusiasts, they will “enhance the sense of place” in the Downtown,
contribute to its charm and nostalgia, and “build further momentum for
placemaking” in Chesterton.
community space, for its part, will serve as a warming station in the
winter, a cooling station in the summer, and likely become a meeting place
of choice for many folks. Gadzala sees it being stocked with checkers and
chess boards and offering an inviting gathering spot for small groups.
Member Nate Cobbs,
R-4th, did take a moment at the end of the meeting to respond to comments
made from the floor by a resident earlier in the meeting, specifically about
the amount which is being spent on the project at the same time Chesterton
Police officers are seeking long-delayed raises.
Cobbs noted first
that park bond moneys simply may not--under law--be used to pay salaries or
fund daily operations. They may be used only, and exclusively, for park
improvements. “We are not taking money from other town functions to pay for
this project,” he said.
Cobbs added that a
permanent restroom facility in Thomas Centennial Park is one of the original
listed bond projects. “Had we dropped a concrete square (restroom) in the
park, it still would have cost $200,000,” he said. “And we need a permanent