It will cost the Town of Chesterton an estimated $140,000 to install a lift
station to pump stormwater from the alley behind the flood-prone Val’s
Famous Pizza & Grinders, located at Broadway and 11th Street.
At its meeting Monday night, the Stormwater Management Board voted 3-0
formally to advertise for bids on the project. A special meeting will be
held at 6:45 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, to open those bids.
Under the project specifications, the new lift station—powered by a 15-horse
power pump, about three times as large as the pumps on most of the town’s
sanitary lift stations—will flow run-off from the alley to a large
stormwater sewer line on Lincoln Ave., about 1,100 feet to the south.
The main point of the project: to prevent the flooding of the Val’s
Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg took a moment after the vote to
address a series of Voices of the People, published in the Chesterton
Tribune over the last month, criticizing the town for failure to address
the issue. In fact, Schnadenberg said, that alley—the lowest point in
town—has been flooding for 50 years and, generally speaking, previous owners
of the building have been aware of the problem.
“We’re going to spend $140,000 on a water spot for one building,”
Schnadenberg said. “I think that’s significant. This (Stormwater Management
Board) is going to solve the problem, whereas in the past no one dealt with
it. The town didn’t create the problem but is going to solve it.”
And there may have been a pretty good reason why the town couldn’t come to
grips with the flooding, Schnadenberg added. The solution is a costly one.
“Until we got the bond”—an $880,000 bond issued late last year—“we haven’t
had the money to put into this project.”
Schnadenberg also responded to the charge that the town has been dragging
its heels more recently. More recently, he said, the Engineering
Department—Town Engineer Mark O’Dell and his associate, Chris Nesper—have
been working on the Ind. 49 utility corridor project.
O’Dell agreed. “We’ve been working steadily on this project steadily,” he
said. “But other projects come up to the front burner.”
In fact, as the Chesterton Tribune has reported, the Stormwater
Management Board has been eyeing a lift station behind Val’s for better than
five years. A sampling of the paper’s coverage:
•In August 2007, the owner of an adjacent property—on which an easement was
needed for installation of the lift station—refused to grant said easement
until he had gotten “additional value” from the town. So negotiations
•In December 2008—before the town had even secured that easement—the board
entered into a contract with an engineering firm, at a price not to exceed
$8,800, to engineer the lift station.
•In February 2009, the town shelled out $2,235 to the owner of the adjacent
property, in exchange for the easement.
•In May 2009, the board went out for bid on the project.
•In September 2009, the board rejected those bids—the lowest at around
$140,000—because they far exceeded the original estimated cost of the
project: $50,000. Even the low bid was considered prohibitively expensive
given funding on hand at that time.
The Val’s lift station was resurrected in 2010, when the idea was first
broached to float a stormwater bond issue.
As President Thomas Kopko noted, “Let’s hope when it’s done we get as many
comments in Voice of the People as we have before.”
In other business, members voted 3-0 to authorize the purchase of an
Aquatech combination sewer cleaner truck, at a cost of $295,000.
The truck is similar to the Sanitary Sewer Utility’s vacuum truck but has
additional capabilities and will be used for jetting and cleaning the town’s
stormwater sewer system.
O’Dell noted that, under the federal and state mandated MS4 system,
municipalities are required to jet-clean their stormwater systems and the
town has in the past used the Sanitary Utility’s truck to do just that. “But
we can’t do that efficiently because the Utility uses the truck all the
time,” he said.
The Aquatech in question is a demo model available from Brown Equipment
Company in Fort Wayne and as of last week was still available for sale,
The vote specified the town’s using the best combination of funding to
purchase the truck outright to save interest fees which would otherwise be
paid under a lease-purchase agreement.
June in Review
In June the Stormwater Utility ran a surplus of $1,942 and in the
year-to-date is running a surplus of $16,937.