Chesterton Tribune



Improvements underway at Hawthorne Park

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Porter Parks Director Brian Bugajski reported at last night’s Porter Town Council meeting that improvements at Hawthorne Park are underway.

Bugajski said new HVAC systems were installed in the Community Center at Hawthorne Park, and basketball court improvements are not far behind. New poles, backboards, and baskets have already arrived, and the Parks Department will be installing those in-house after the new courts are paved. Bugajski previously said installing in-house was a cost savings of $5,000 to $6,000.

The improvements at Hawthorne were funded from a portion of the Town’s $830,000 General Obligation (GO) bond at a cost of $17,000 for the HVAC, and around $53,000 for rehabbing the basketball courts.

Meanwhile, engineering on the Lake Pratt Accessible Ramp project is almost complete. Bugajski said he will likely present the plan for creating a safe, wheelchair accessible pathway from the parking lot down the hill to Lake Pratt at Indian Springs Park at a June Council meeting. The engineering was funded in part by a Lake Michigan Coastal grant.

In other parks business, Bugajski encouraged parents to call the Parks Department at 983-1042 to register their children for summer programs. This summer, there will be four sessions for kids ages six to 11. He also noted that Safety Fest at Hawthorne Park is coming up, Friday, June 7 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Public Works

After Public Works Supervisor Brenda Brueckheimer was approved last month to get quotes for two new Ford F-250 trucks to replace two 2011 models in her fleet, she got responses from Castle Ford and Lakeshore Ford. However, she asked that the Council reject the two bids and allow her to resolicit the quotes due to a clerical error in the paperwork sent. The Council approved.

Bruckheimer also gave an update on the recent heavy rainfall. She reported that residents may not see relief from drainage issues until Duneland gets some dry weather--though she knows many are already overwhelmed with flooding in their yards. “Our catch basins are holding water. Our storm drains are holding water,” Brueckheimer said. “We’ve gotten well over 14 inches of rain in the last three months.”

“Please be patient. We’re trying our best to go out there and address problem areas as they come up,” Brueckheimer added.

Fire Department

Fire Chief Jay Craig apologized to the Council, and to the public, because the Fire Department’s flag poles weren’t repaired in time for Memorial Day this past weekend.

Craig said his goal was to fix them in time for the holiday, but mother nature had other plans. “We’re just waiting for some drier weather to get them up. I apologize we didn’t get that done, but we were striving to get it done as soon as possible.”

Craig took a moment to recognize Porter’s firefighters for putting in long hours to help search for a kayaker who was reported missing on Lake Michigan May 21. “I just want to make a big shout out to them, they always step up when we need them, and that is greatly appreciated.”

On the business side, Craig reported the Fire Department has a 2004 Chevrolet Impala that broke down last year and isn’t worth repairing due to major rust issues. Craig asked the Council to approve using the Impala for an extrication demo at Safety Fest. The Council approved and voted to have the title for the Impala transferred to the towing company that will take it after the demo.

The Council approved Craig to donate 10 sections of fire hose that didn’t pass a recent inspection to the Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City. Craig said the zoo uses old fire hoses to make toys for the animals. Also approved was the Porter FD’s yearly subscription to its fire reporting software, which is $1,420 to be paid by Westchester Township.

Sewer Disputes

The Council resolved two sewer disputes where residents got stuck with hefty water bills following vandalism and broken pipes. The Council approved adjusting the residents’ bills to reflect their average monthly water use.

A commercial dispute is still underway, as the Council voted to table a dispute from the new owner of the Spring House Inn. Clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy reported the new owner discovered the pool had been leaking for over a year, and the Inn’s water usage plummeted after recent repairs.

The Council voted to table the dispute and not adjust the bill until another usage reading has been done. The Council will revisit the dispute in July, in the meantime waiving all penalties and continuing service to the Inn.

Other Business

The Council approved an in-kind donation of Fire and Police Department man hours at this year’s Lakefront fireworks. President of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce Maura Durham reported the fireworks are scheduled for July 1 with a rain date of July 2.

Council Vice-president Bill Lopez reported long-time Plan Commission member Ken Timm has stepped down. Timm’s vacated seat is a presidential appointment. Council President Greg Stinson was absent last night, but Lopez reported Stinson’s pick to replace Timm is David Phillips.

The Council also approved on first reading an ordinance for two additional appropriations: one from the Fire Department’s budget to cover the $50,000 of Fire Department funds dedicated to the Town’s new fire engine, and one from the Parks Department to cover the Town’s $5,000 match for the Lake Michigan Coastal Grant. A second reading, and public hearing, is set for the next meeting.

Pomeroy reminded residents to wait until June 16 to fill swimming pools.


Posted 5/29/2019




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