Chesterton Tribune

Dueling logos: Porter council wants input whether to use Adirondak chair or sunset

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Visit the Town of Porter website and the home page depicts a beach scene with an empty Adirondak chair facing the Lake Michigan horizon.

Visit the Porter town hall and the familiar orange and blue logo of a setting sun behind a lakeshore dune is prominently displayed.

Which one is the real Porter town logo?

Residents will get their chance to choose. The Town Council agreed Thursday a survey question will be developed, and when and how the vote will take place will be announced in an upcoming Porter sewer billing.

Council president Greg Stinson said despite the previous administration’s 2010 adoption of the Adirondak chair with its Front Porch to the Dunes theme, the former sunset logo is most often used.

Public Works superintendent Brenda Brueckheimer said it would be costly to replace vehicle decals, signage, letterheads, uniform logos and paperwork that bear that design.

Council member Elka Nelson said during last year’s election campaign, “The one question I got asked was, ‘Why do we have to have that chair? What’s wrong with our logo?’” It was envisioned by promoters that the Adirondak chairs would be decorated and displayed around town, but Nelson said that never caught on.

Commented councilwoman Jeannine Virtue, “I did not hear one person say, ‘I love that logo.’ Where is the new logo; is it anywhere?” Lake Michigan is the No. 1 visitor attraction in Indiana, she noted, and there’s no reason not to feature that.

Observed Joan Burke from the audience, “I’m not going to travel to see a chair. If I see the beach or the sunset, I may be apt to travel.”

Resident Rondi Wightman stated, “The community was never given the opportunity for input when (the chair logo) was adopted.”

Stinson said as a social scientist and statistician by profession it’s been his experience that those opposed to something are more likely to make that known so the town needs a better sampling of public sentiment.

Councilman Bill Cantrell, welcomed back after an extended illness, said he worked with Porter’s Branding Leadership Team that developed the Adirondak chair and suggested both logos might be used for different marketing applications.

Town attorney Gregg Sobkowski said Porter is not bound to either logo and could choose one or use both.

Some thought it might be helpful to estimate the cost for the town to transition to a new logo, but Stinson felt that might influence how some residents voted. If the Adirondak chair wins, the transition could be gradual and the town plan for those costs going forward, he added.

Lorelei Weimer, executive director of Porter County’s Indiana Dunes Tourism, was present Thursday after having given a recap of the value of tourism to the town.

After the meeting she said a logo generally represents only a small percentage of an overall marketing campaign. “What sells it is truly the brand itself. It’s their community. As long as they understand the importance of the brand.”

Porter’s brand adopted with the chair logo is being a family-friendly community, and the town’s subsequent efforts have emphasized that marketing and programming focus.

Beach snack trailer OK’d

The council voted 5-0 to allow George’s Gyros Spot to operate a food concession through 2012 using up to two spaces in the town’s Porter Beach permit parking lot; town Police and Public Works will choose which spaces. The lot is open from dawn to dusk.

Stinson said George’s originally filed for a Porter peddler’s permit but it was determined the town ordinance did not provide for a stationary food vendor. While the ordinance is being updated, the restaurant has provided satisfactory food and insurance certificates and agreed to reasonable restrictions, explained Stinson.

No permit fee was charged, but George’s will reimburse the town for any signage or related expenses incurred for its operation at the beach.

In another ordinance matter, the Town Council approved new regulations requiring the builder or owner of any structure containing engineered-wood floor or roof support systems, including I-beam joists, trusses or rafters, to purchase a $10 brass tag to be affixed on the structure’s exterior electric or gas meter.

The tag, purchased from the town, will let emergency responders know engineered wood --- which burns faster than conventional lumber --- was used during construction. The builder/owner must disclose the use of engineered wood, and the tag must be installed prior to occupancy.

Planners review zoning

The council voted unanimously to forward a request to the Porter Plan Commission that its members address zoning issues at the intersection of Waverly Road and U.S. 20 where a Utah water park operator wants to re-open Splash Down Dunes.

Stinson said years ago parcels in that area were zoned planned unit development but the paperwork wasn’t filed as required. Typically the parcels would revert to their previous zoning, but some were assigned a category that no longer exists.

In the absence of specific zoning, Seven Peaks Waterpark Porter LC is seeking a use variance to operate a water park/amusement center where Splash Down Dunes has sat shuttered since 2009.

Nelson recused herself and did not vote on the motion because she is the principal broker for Hansen Realty on the water park sale.


Posted 5/11/2012