Chesterton Tribune


Miller and Porter agree on job title; park director sought

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Superintendent Jim Miller has accepted a newly created full-time position with the Porter Park Department, and applications are being accepted for a new park director with expanded responsibilities effective Jan. 1.

The Porter Park Board discussed the job descriptions for both positions Tuesday at a public workshop before voting 4-0 to send them with a favorable recommendation to the Town Council, which meets Tuesday.

Miller, Porter park superintendent for 24 years, will become the park specialist in charge of maintenance of park grounds and facilities as well as Porterís hike/bike trails. For the past two years Miller also has maintained the grounds of the Porter town hall and police station under an agreement with the Park Board.

The new park director will assume many of the supervisory responsibilities of the current superintendent in addition to the duties of current park administrator Stephanie Miller, who is retiring Dec. 31.

The park director must have a bachelorís degree and will deal with all aspects of renting out the park-owned facilities including the Hawthorne Park community building.

The director also will be charged with grant writing, developing and being present at Park Department programming, community outreach, public relations, marketing, fundraising, networking and planning. Board president Rondi Wightman said the department is sponsoring or co-sponsoring 12 new events and programs now.

As full-time park superintendent Jim Miller will be paid $50,360 this year and Stephanie Miller approximately $17,581. She receives an additional $50 per Park Board meeting as its secretary.

Jim Miller declined to state the salary amount offered for his new specialist position; Wightman said although it hasnít been addressed, the park director likely would be paid somewhere in the $40,000 range. A Park Department salary ordinance typically is adopted in January.

Tuesdayís apparent agreement on job descriptions and compensation ends four months of uncertainty over the Park Boardís desire to reorganize its employee responsibilities and how Jim Miller fit into that change. Because Miller wanted to remain a park employee after intially indicating he would retire Dec. 31, several members of the public had urged the Park Board to make a place for him.

Porter Lights of Love

Budís Buddies, a friends-of-the-park group, received Park Board permission to use two evergreen trees in Hawthorne Park as well as the community building Sunday, Dec. 2 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for a lighting ceremony. Budís Buddies will string the trees with lights dedicated to the memory of a loved one, in support of our military men and women, or to recognize and celebrate a family member or friend.

Lights cost $5 each. They also can be purchased to represent special organizations, social groups, places of employment or foundations such as 4H, Bunko clubs, the American Red Cross or a town Police Department, according to Budís Buddies chairperson Zathoe Sexton.

In addition to the decorated trees, all names of those remembered will be featured on a banner displayed near the trees throughout the Christmas holiday season. ďI think itís a wonderful way to honor our fallen ones and loved ones,Ē said Park Board member Patty Raffin.

Funds collected from Porter Lights of Love will be used for the Sounds of Summer Hawthorne concert series and park beautification. Lights can be purchased at the town hall or through the Park Department.

Security fee rises

At the request of assistant Porter Police chief Todd Allen, the Park Board unanimously agreed to increase from $20 per hour to $25 per hour the renterís cost to have security present when required at Hawthorne Park rental events. The security fee for an event on a legal holiday will be $30 per hour, all increases effective Jan. 1.

Allen also recommended that even if alcohol isnít served, after 6 p.m. a police officer should be present as a deterrent and in case of a dispute or medical emergency. On another matter, he concurred the Park Department should install signage near the volleyball court and disk golf course stating open containers of alcohol arenít allowed per town ordinance.

In other business Tuesday:

ē It was announced Joe McHugh has completed as his Eagle Scout project an observation deck overlooking Hawthorneís wetlands area near the Little Calumet River. McHugh was commended for his craftsmanship and for the size of the lookout platform.

ē Jim Miller reported Public Works director Brenda Brueckheimer cooperated to arrange connection of the Hawthorne baseball concession standís sewer line to a manhole during construction of a force main in the area; it will enable future installation of a restroom there.

ē John Notzen representing the Duneland Flyers baseball traveling team donated $400 toward Hawthorne improvements for being allowed to use the diamond this season.

ē The Park Board waived the community building rental fee for town employees to have their Christmas party there Dec. 14 at the request of Town Council member Rob Pomeroy.

ē Also waived but retroactively was the rental fee for Seven Peaks Waterpark Duneland, located in Porter, for its Nov. 8 informational meeting at the community building. Asked later why the fee was waived when Seven Peaks isnít a non-profit group, Wightman said she wasnít sure. Park Board member Jessie Campaniello said the meet-and-greetís purpose was to allow Porter residents to ask questions about the water parkís plans. Seven Peaks manager Matthew Phair made the request.

ē Stephanie Miller said rental income year-to-date is $2,000 ahead of 2011 with room for more Christmas parties to be booked.

ē She also said 230 children and parents attended the Park Departmentís Oct. 28 Boo Bash Halloween party. Miller thanked Becky Maranto, Lakeshore Drifters 4H Club, Duneland Seniors Group, Family Express and Jewel for their donations and assistance; Elka Nelson, Pomeroy and Brueckheimer judged the costume contest. Nelson also was thanked for her $110 donation.



Posted 11/21/2012