By PAULENE POPARAD
Three residents from two subdivisions asked the town of Porter Park Board on
Tuesday for expanded recreation in their respective neighborhoods. In both
cases money was a main stumbling block. The requests will be discussed again
at the May 3 meeting.
Mike Perkins of Woodlawn Acres north of Woodlawn Avenue said two lots there
now owned by the Chesterton/Duneland Building Trades may be going on the
market and he urged the Park Board to consider purchasing them because
there’s interest in his subdivision for a park.
Perkins said the lots are partially wooded and contain a ravine possibly
requiring a fence. After the meeting he said there’s no continuous sidewalks
so children would be able to walk safely to Hawthorne Park from the
Board President Bud Tilden said the park doesn’t have any money for land
acquisition but could request the town’s new grant writer to look for
funding elsewhere. Tilden made the same comment to Carrie Ailes, a resident
of Dune Meadows subdivision north of U.S. 20. Six months ago she presented a
petition signed by 16 property owners who want improvements at the currently
undeveloped park there.
Tuesday, Ailes asked if litter around the pond near the park could be
collected by the Park Department, and what the status was of park upgrades.
In late 2003, 13 Dune Meadows property owners petitioned the Park Board not
to build a 30-foot by 40-foot play structure then planned for the small
park. Responding to their wishes, the board placed development of Dune
Meadows last on its five-year master plan. “It’s behind other things right
now. When you miss your timing, it’s tough to get back on track,” Park
Superintendent Jim Miller told Ailes last night.
She said in 2003 the planned tot lot’s proximity to the street was a
concern. Low-impact amenities, even if benches to start, are needed now,
according to Ailes. “I think a good portion of the residents want something
there.” Subdivision resident Becky Mateja, also present, said a majority of
neighbors do want the park improved, she suggesting a phased plan for
Miller said he’d see to it the litter is picked up around the Dune Meadows
park, and he announced that Indian Springs Park on Beam Street is open for
the season where debris left from the winter also will be removed.
Miller presented plans for the renovation of the main entrance to the
Hawthorne Park community building, a project discussed since 2002. The
existing porch roof will be saved, the porch itself extended by four feet,
the current bank of multiple steps removed and the soil backfilled and
compacted so new, user-friendly steps, landings and a handrail can be built
to code. The final step into the building will be eliminated. Outside stairs
to the lower level will be removed and doors there sealed off.
Said Park Board member Nancy Whisler of the upgrade, “We’ve needed it for a
Miller said he will have copies of the plans made for the Town Council so
its members can review them before the project is put out to bid. The park
will receive approximately $50,000 this year as its share of the town’s
Porter County income tax revenue; additional funds could come from the
park’s 2005 budget.
Through the first 11 months of 2004, park rentals including the community
building generated $17,175. Miller said, “I hate to disrupt the flow of
people coming and going but we’ll all benefit from beautifying the
building.” The community building will be available for rental and use
during the renovation because guests can enter through the
handicapped-accessible west entry, which will get minor repairs itself.
The Park Board voted 3-0 with member Juan Magana absent to accept the $2,800
proposal of Boyd Construction to make repairs where pavement has shifted
creating uneven elevations. Also approved unanimously was the $2,700
purchase of recreational-grade mulch and additional waterproofing materials
for Hawthorne and Porter Cove parks to be used by the community-based
Rebuilding Together, which will provide labor for the maintenance projects
on the group’s annual work day.
At the suggestion by park liaison and Town Council member Sandi Snyder, it
was agreed Park Administrator Connie Goysich will be directly supervised by
Miller. When she was hired in 2001, the Park Board indicated she would
report to its members, however, “Usually if there’s a problem I call Jim
anyway,” Goysich said Tuesday.
Tilden said the current arrangement has never been a problem and Whisler
said maybe the town attorney should look into the matter, but Snyder said
state law requires assistants to report to the park superintendent. “It
could become an issue we could avoid by doing it right. It’s a technicality
we need to straighten out,” explained Snyder, who said the town attorney has
Said Tilden, “If that’s the law, we have no choice.”