Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Town Council mulls $1.5 million bond issue for roadwork

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Thirteen years ago, in 2001, the Chesterton Town Council--fearful of falling irretrievably behind in the maintenance of the town’s roadways--floated a $900,000 general obligation bond specifically for paving and sidewalk projects.

When the dust had settled, not only had at least 17 streets been re-paved--and thousands of tons of asphalt poured--but the 11th Street sidewalk had been built, from West Porter Ave. to 1100N.

That bond was officially retired in 2011.

Now--as council members try to shake off this most brutal of winters and eye the damage it caused to infrastructure--they’re thinking that another bond issue might not be a bad idea at all.

At their meeting Monday night, members voted 4-0 to authorize Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann to explore the feasibility either of a new bond issue or of a low-interest loan from the county, with contracted financial consultant London Witte Group and bond counsel Shanahan & Shanahan.

Member Sharon Darnell, D-4th, was not in attendance.

The proposed amount of any such issue or loan: $1.25 million to $1.5 million. The goal: saving money by repairing roads now, before they need to be reconstructed altogether.

“This past winter the roads took a beating,” said Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd. “We haven’t had a winter like that in umpteen years.”

“I think it’s a great idea,” agreed Member Jim Ton, R-1st.

After the meeting Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg told the Chesterton Tribune that several roads badly in need of re-surfacing spring to mind: 23rd Street from Washington Ave. to 1100N; 1050N from 200W to Ind. 149; 1050N between Fifth Street and 11th Street; and 11th Street in front of Chesterton High School.

It’s unlikely, however, that the town would get the same bang for its buck as it did 13 years ago, Schnadenberg added. Asphalt was going for maybe $36 per ton back then. Right now it’s going for $68 gallons per ton.

200E

Meanwhile, one road which can’t wait much longer for some sort of tending is 200E, which has been beaten to bits not only by the winter but by the heavy construction equipment accessing the Urschel Laboratories Inc. work site at Coffee Creek Center.

A lot of folks have been complaining about 200E, Schnadenberg told members on Monday. The only problem: the asphalt plants aren’t open yet. Right now crews have been making do with gravel.

When the asphalt plants do open, Schnadenberg said, 200E will be patched. It will not be rebuilt, though, until the bridge over Coffee Creek has been completed, which will allow construction equipment to access the Urschel work site from Ind. 49.

Sidewalk Grinding

In other business, Schnadenberg submitted to members a map of sidewalk tripping hazards which will be ground down this season.

The idea is to finish grinding the tripping hazards still left in Chestnut Hills, then move to Westchester South. There are a few as well in the Oakwood subdivision.

Schnadenberg expects spending on tripping hazards to increase this year to around $15,000, from $12,000 in 2013.

Fifth Street Utility Poles

South Fifth Street residents may find it odd that there are now two sets of utility poles in the right-of-way, following NIPSCO’s installation of a second set last fall as part of a line upgrade project.

Turns out, NIPSCO is waiting for Frontier to switch its telephone lines to the new poles. Once that work is done, Schnadenberg said, NIPSCO will remove the old ones.

Ton on Arbor Day

and Rebuilding Together

Ton took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank Schnadenberg for another great Arbor Day celebration, this time at Coffee Creek Center, where some 200 trees were planted to replace those lost to the emerald ash borer.

Ton also expressed his gratitude to the Rebuilding Together Duneland volunteers. “It’s a great demonstration of our core pride,” he said. “One of the things that makes this community great is the pitch-in spirit.”

 

Posted 4/29/2014