Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

No 4th of July Festival in Porter this year, board told

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There won’t be a 4th of July community celebration for the Duneland area this year in Hawthorne Park.

The Porter Park Board authorized park administrator Stephanie Miller to make the grounds and buildings there available for private reservation that weekend after getting no request from any group to reserve the park for community use.

Porter Town Council member Jon Granat, liaison to the Park Board, told its members Tuesday the consensus is it’s too late for his board to get anything going. “Nobody has the time to devote to it.”

For many years a committee hosted a 4th of July festival at Chesterton’s Dogwood Park, but that ended. The Friends of Porter hosted a Porter sesquicentennial celebration July 4-6 at Hawthorne in 2008; last year a citizen committee organized an Independence Day festival there, and the Porter Town Council helped sponsor a new fireworks display at Indiana Dunes State Park.

Whether the fireworks event will take place this year in the absence of a festival is unknown.

Also Tuesday, the Park Board heard a presentation from Porter director of engineering Matt Keiser regarding several projects planned over the next two years in and adjacent to Hawthorne Park. “You can see exactly what’s coming online so our projects get coordinated with what you’re looking at,” he told the board.

The work includes sanitary sewer and stormwater upgrades, a redesign of Hawthorne’s east entrance, more parking areas, and construction in 2011 of the Orchard Pedestrian Way hike/bike trail along Waverly Road with a leg meandering through Hawthorne. Using an aerial map, Keiser also identified areas on the park’s north side near the Little Calumet River where a possible boat launch, picnic area and bike/canoe rentals could be located.

Said Park Board member Becky Maranto, “This is exciting. As a camper, when I go to new towns I look for things like this for my family. It’s what I see at county parks. To bring it down to our town level and to access it, it shows vision.” Board president Patty Raffin said land to the north of the community building still has a lot of room for park development.

Keiser noted this year several recreational agencies and their partners plan to clean up the Little Calumet River making it navigable through Porter and beyond from County Road 400 East to Indiana 149.

He added that money is available for such projects, but the town has to do its due diligence and weigh all the options, like who would staff the bike/canoe rentals. Superintendent Jim Miller said the park needs to start planning now and have its projects shovel-ready when grants become available.

In other business, the Park Board:

•Voted 3-0 with member Jesse Campaniello absent to accept the $19,973 bid of Morton Buildings Inc. to build a 42-foot by 40-foot pole barn shell on Hawthorne’s northeast side. The building would be funded with town CEDIT money, revenue raised through the Porter County income tax.

•Approved the use of a community-building room at no cost May 11 at 6 p.m. for a joint Chesterton/Porter program in cooperation with the Porter County Waste Reduction District to distribute and explain the benefits of rain barrels. Registration and a fee is required.

•Also approved unanimously was a request from Save the Dunes to host its annual dinner Sept. 26 in the community building as a fundraiser that promotes local food, vendors, growers and producers. The rental fee was not waived, and final details regarding alcohol service need to be worked out.

•Jim Biggs was given permission to conduct a pancake-breakfast campaign fundraiser Saturday in the community building; full rental fee will be paid but the board had to approve charging for tickets at the door.

•Joyce Thomas of Lakeshore Drifters 4-H won permission to meet the second Monday of the month in the community building at no charge for a three-month trial period. At its last meeting the Drifters had 145 people, said Thomas, and have to find a new location because Brummitt School is no longer available due to Duneland School Corp. budget cuts. Thomas said the youth, grades K-12, could help the Park Department if needed.

•Park Boad members welcomed the offer, especially for the 1 p.m. March 27 Easter Egg Hunt at Hawthorne. Last year nearly 400 children attended. The Easter bunny will be on hand for fun and photos, and 120 dozen plastic eggs filled by Cub Scout Pack 929 with candy and prizes will be hidden on the park grounds for ages 1 through 9. Refreshments will be served. More information is available at 921-1687 or on the park’s Facebook page.

•Stephanie Miller regretfully announced the Senior Citizens group that met for many years in the community club is disbanding. Park Board member Rondi Wightman invited someone from the community to reactivate the group, and Maranto said the Park Department would be glad to welcome them back.

•Raffin said renovating the concession stand at the Hawthorne ballfield needs to be a higher priority because of its appearance. Jim Miller said he has the supplies and if he can’t find volunteers to do the work, he’ll make sure it gets done.

•Maranto was given the green light to find out more information about her suggestion that the park sponsor summer cooking classes geared for 5th and 6th Grade students. If well-accepted, additional theme-cuisine classes could be offered. “I think there’s a huge need and you’ll be surprised at the response you get,” predicted Wightman.




Posted 3/17/2010






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