Chesterton Tribune



Hawthorne landscape changes as Orchard pedway work begins

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“The Orchard Pedestrian Trail has hit the park,” park director Brian Bugajski told the Porter Park Board on Tuesday.

Clearing of a path for the 8 foot-wide hike/bike trail with shoulders through Hawthorne Park has begun and the park’s segment largely will be completed by late September, in time for the Porter’s Perfect Pint festival there Oct. 5.

On a 3-1 vote the Park Board approved spending $4,168 for attachments for the purchase of a John Deere Gator HPX at a base cost of $8,509. Because the Deere will be financed over three years, interest costs will accrue. The park can buy the Deere for $1 at the end of the lease.

Voting no was board member Jeff Bailey. He later said it’s because, “I don’t like trails in the first place.”

Earlier this year the Park Department entered into an agreement with the Porter Redevelopment Commission, which is funding trail construction, to maintain the trails including snowplowing. In addition to a fee for service, the current agreement gives the Park Board $5,000 a year for trail-maintenance equipment.

Bugajski said he wasn’t clear which board would own the new Deere equipment, but that can be decided later.

On another matter, the Park Board scheduled a public input session to follow its Oct. 15 meeting to discuss revisions to the five-year park master plan. A survey will be released this week to solicit additional comments and a draft plan could be presented in November. Final adoption is due by April 15.

In other business, Park Board members disagreed whether a scheduled executive session called for tonight was needed to review the job performance of Bugajski, who was hired about six months ago under a Park Department reorganization that expanded the director’s responsibilities.

Wightman defended the need, but Bailey and member Charles Kaufman said an annual employee review is standard. Bailey said the board interacts with the director often and knows how he’s doing. Wightman said it wouldn’t be fair not to have the review since the director’s job description is new.

The executive session will take place as scheduled.

Under closing comments Bailey questioned why Bud’s Buddies, which he described as an independent group non-affiliated with the park, should be collecting money in the name of the park and competing for park donations.

Wightman said the group functions as a friends of the park and is in the process of obtaining a 501c3 not-for-profit designation that will make it eligible for grants not open to the park itself. Bud’s Buddies, named after former long-time Park Board member Bud Tilden, has donated money and services to the park already, she added, but the board can’t dictate how the private group spends its own money.

Tuesday the Park Department received a $600 donation from Chesterton Moose Lodge 1623 presented by governor Delbert Pullins and treasurer Norman Ruge. The money will be used for ag lime on the Porter Cove Park ballfield.

Ruge said the Moose supports families and children. “Thank you so very much. This is wonderful,” said Wightman.

In other business:

*  Ticket sales are ahead of last year’s pace for the Porter’s Perfect Pint brewfest celebrating specialty beers. Tickets are obtained through Volunteers and donations of silent-auction items are being sought. The Park Board donated one free rental each of the community building, shelter and gazebo.

*  The board approved free use of the Perfect Pint tent at Hawthorne for Leroy Flores, who is hosting a comedy night Oct. 11 and a Fall Fest Oct. 12 to benefit the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter.

*  Amy Arney of Chesterton Pop Warner Cheer was given permission to use the community building’s lower level Oct. 4 to manage the delivery of cookie dough for a fundraiser.

*  When discussing signs for the volleyball and disc golf areas, Bailey said there’s getting to be too many signs and he asked who will monitor whether someone plays volleyball too long. Wightman said there’s been a two-hour wait to get on the court and the signs would be a reminder to share.



Posted 9/19/2013