Chesterton Tribune



Town Council hears details of crowdfunding for boxcar

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There are sufficient remaining moneys in the $2-million park bond issued in 2015 to pay cash on the barrel for the boxcar restroom and caboose community space being refurbished for Thomas Centennial Park.

But there’s also a second funding source--a crowdfunding source, to be exact--which will be used to defray the cost of building an ADA ramp access to the boxcar and caboose as well as landscaping the facility.

As MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala reported to the Chesterton Town Council at its meeting Monday night, there is also the opportunity, courtesy of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), to get even more bang out of the bucks donated by folks.

It will work this way: if the campaign is able to raise $31,000 by April 20, IHCDA through its CreatINg Places initiative will double that amount, for a total pot of $62,000.

The crowdfunding platform being used: Patronicity. Access it at

The Patronicity 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 Centennial Park.

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.

The caboose 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.

Project Cost

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 restroom.”



Posted 3/15/2018




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