Chesterton Tribune

Soccer club to get new practice field thanks to Town of Porter

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Duneland Soccer Club soon will have a new practice field at Hawthorne Park in Porter.

Its Park Board voted 3-0 to allow it after board member Jessie Campaniello stepped down and presented the request as co-registrar of DSC. She said with the club now having almost 60 teams ranging from 4 to 14 year-olds, practice fields are badly needed.

According to Campaniello, DSC is by far the largest youth soccer program in northwest Indiana. Hawthorne has softball, baseball, basketball, volleyball and tennis/badminton courts but no soccer field, she noted.

Hawthorne's new practice site will be used by DSC weekdays only between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. for a spring session and a late summer/fall session; the field will be located west of Waverly Road south of Ackerman Drive in an area used during the Chesterton Art Fair in August.

Campaniello said soccer will not be in session at that time. DSC agreed to provide the goals, nets and striping of the field. The goals can be removed as necessary.

Park Board president Becky Maranto asked a DSC representative to work with park superintendent Jim Miller regarding parking, and with park administrator Stephanie Miller on a contract for use of the grounds.

In a related matter, the board voted unanimously to allow State Park Little League youth baseball to use the Hawthorne diamond additional days to now include Monday through Friday.

Town hall, police upkeep

The Park Board agreed to a two-month trial basis of having park labor maintain the lawn and plantings at the town hall and police station as requested by council president Michele Bollinger last month.

It was stipulated that the cost of materials needed for the work will be reimbursed by the town to the Park Department.

The department currently plows snow at the town hall and police station for the Street Department.

Jim Miller said while he's not making a case against mowing, he's concerned there may not be enough money in his park budget. "We'll be limited on hours. It'll be tight at the end of the year." He estimated it will take about four hours a week to do both additional buildings or 100 hours over the summer season May through September.

John Kipper has been hired and becomes the park's second part-time maintenance employee. Miller said sometimes PACT workers are available for labor but he can't count on it reliably.

Park Board member Rondi Wightman offered to investigate whether a Scout troop or Porter County Master Gardeners might want to help the parks maintain the Porter buildings.

On another matter, Miller said the Park Department has relocated its office from the town hall to the basement of the community center with its own copier. Business with the public will be conducted upstairs in an accessible meeting room.

Projects many, dollars few

The Park Board spent much of its meeting discussing needed maintenance and repair projects and the lack of money to pay for them.

The board did approve a $575 proposal from M.C. Zosso to upgrade electrical lines in the Hawthorne community center to prevent circuit breakers from repeatedly tripping. The work wasn't included in the recently completed remodeling of the building's adjacent twin kitchens.

Maranto said the work, which included bringing restrooms up to code, came in on target and under budget. Member Patty Raffin was thanked and drew applause for spearheading the project from design to completion.

She reported that fixing a recurring Hawthorne drainage problem under Ackerman Drive could prove to be costly. Initially jetting out the line was considered, but instead of what could be a temporary fix it was agreed more information is needed including possibly snaking a camera through the line and eventually enlarging it.

If the latter isn't an option, Raffin said jetting the line annually may be required to avoid the substantial water back-up that occurred in Hawthorne following last September's record flooding. Federal FEMA money reimbursed the park for damages.

After a brief discussion it was agreed to postpone until at least 2010 what could be a $70,000 project to rip out and replace the vacated portion of Rankin Street on Hawthorne's west side to become overflow parking for the baseball diamond and community center events.

With fencing and sidewalk replacement added, Miller said the project could swell to $100,000. He advised sewer line work may occur in this area and could impact the park's plans.

The Park Board took no action on a proposal to make additional repairs to the front porch at the community center. A metal railing was installed too close to the concrete edges, which are cracking.

Maranto asked if the rails need to be removed and re-installed correctly. Jim Miller said there is no safety issue and this new repair might stop the cracking but then again, it might not. If anything is done a request for CEDIT money from the Town Council likely will be made.

CEDIT money was OK'd for the community center kitchen/restroom remodeling and for drainage work at Porter Cove Park.

Also Tuesday, Stephanie Miller reported over 400 adults and children attended the recent Easter Egg Hunt and an open house to showcase the community center remodeling. "We've never had such a big turn-out," said Raffin.

At least 116 dozen filled plastic eggs were given away and refreshments were served. Thanked for donations or in-kind service was Reprographic Art of Michigan City, Chesterton's WiseWay and Jewel food stores, Starbucks of Valparaiso, the Chesterton Tribune and Jeff Miller.

Stephanie Miller said spring and summer look very busy for park rental reservations and the kitchen remodeling is a big hit.

In other business:

*Maranto announced the park's updated five-year master plan has been accepted by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and qualifies the park to apply for grants through the DNR.

*John Beckman updated the board on his schedule to continue restoring a wetland north of Hawthorne over the summer. Boy Scouts will help with a site clean-up this weekend, and tours eventually will be given.

*Voting 4-0 the board OK'd rental of both community center meeting rooms and a nearby shelter for May 15 by Narcotics Anonymous for a non-alcoholic pot-luck dinner. The fee was reduced to $200 and the need for a security guard was waived. Maranto said the work NA does for the community is invaluable, and that an anonymous benefactor will pay the $200.

*It was announced Bill Paulus Jr. donated $79 to purchase a magnolia tree as a memorial for Bill Paulus Sr.

*Stephanie Miller was authorized to begin planning a Memorial Day observance at Hawthorne's veterans' monument.

*The board agreed to arrange a work session with park liaison Todd Martin, who was absent, to discuss setting up a park website. Updated photographs will be needed, said Maranto, who's been posting information about park rental availability on the Craigslist website.


Posted 4/22/2009