Chesterton Tribune



Pedway route, Dearborn parking at Porter RDC and Town Council tonight

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Opposition is being voiced over long-approved plans to route the Orchard Pedestrian Way hike/bike trail in Porter through Hawthorne Park.

And some Porter Beach residents arenít happy either with a recent town directive to enforce existing parking laws there.

Both topics will be addressed separately tonight at the Porter town hall by the Redevelopment Commission at 6 p.m. and the Town Council at 7 p.m.

Last week Park Board member Jeff Bailey voiced his disappointment over the Hawthorne alignment after grade stakes recently were placed marking ithe hike/bike route; he was asked to present his concerns to the RDC.

Bailey was not a Park Board member when the pedway was discussed and approved in 2012 by the board in office at that time; only one of the previous four Park Board members still serves. The pedway itself has been discussed at public RDC meetings for several years.

The grade stakes also have prompted some residents in the area to question the route of the 8 foot-wide asphalt trail that starts west of the new State Park Little League parking lot to Waverly Road, turning north up Waverly, then west on Franklin Street where it will turn north again into Hawthorne and follow the main road curving east along Ackerman Drive and back to Waverly Road going north. The trail ends at Orchard Apartments.

Park Department representatives were scheduled to meet privately this week with pedway engineer Haas & Associates and contractor Rieth-Riley Construction prior to groundbreaking this summer. The project is being administered by the Indiana Dept. of Transportation because itís primarily funded with a federal congestion-mitigation grant awarded over a decade ago.

In addition to tonightís Orchard Pedway update, the RDC also will deal with a resolution described only by number, a Porter Avenue lift station change-order, and two change-orders related to the planned Dunes-Kankakee hike/bike trail on Porterís north side.

At 7 p.m. the Town Council will convene to discuss matters regarding health insurance, an ordinance authorizing payment for pre-approved construction projects, and the Dearborn Street parking lot at Porter Beach.

Two weeks ago the council heard complaints over police plans to start enforcing laws that ban parking on town streets at the beach. The Dearborn Street Parking Association was formed several years ago to assess dues for upkeep of a lot where members park on both private property and the town street.

There is no existing agreement between the association and the town; the townís position is it receives no revenue from the association lot even though a private group is leasing out town property. Beach resident Michael OíConnor said the parking ban is punishment and coercion to create public parking at the beach.

Council president Elka Nelson has asked for documentation about the association, and she outlined a tentative proposal to parking association officers that would be brought before the full council for final consideration.

At 5 p.m. today the Porter Stormwater Management Board will convene its monthly meeting to discuss Wagner Hills and Dune Meadows drainage issues, two payment requests, and to hear staff reports.

The public may comment on other matters at the conclusion of the Stormwater Board, and at the beginning of the respective RDC and Town Council meetings.


Posted 7/23/2013