The Porter Park Board unanimously endorsed a route for the planned Orchard
Pedestrian Way hike/bike trail through Hawthorne Park, now slated for 2013
Tuesday’s decision advances projects on three fronts: design of the pedway
trail itself; plans for companion drainage improvements at Hawthorne and
along the trail route; and development of a landscaped Hawthorne memorial
The 8 foot-wide asphalt trail will enter the park from the “bridge to
nowhere” north of Hawthorne erected years ago west of Waverly Road in
anticipation of the pedway being built. The trail will follow Ackerman
Drive, curve around it near the community building before heading south on
Hageman Avenue to Franklin Street, where the trail will proceed east to
Waverly Road and eventually Woodlawn Avenue.
Park Board member Patty Raffin said unlike the new Porter Brickyard Trail
that has gravel shoulders on either side, the pedway through Hawthorne will
have grass shoulders instead.
Pedway construction likely will require the relocation of some disc golf tee
baskets at Hawthorne. Raffin said having the trail in the park could lead to
bike rentals there someday. Town Council president Greg Stinson, who
attended the meeting, said eventually the trail network will allow its users
to travel to Lake Michigan at the Indiana Dunes State Park via Porter’s leg
of the planned Dunes Kankakee Trail.
Stinson said now that a Hawthorne route has been selected, it will be
surveyed and a legal description prepared so the Park Board can consider
granting a perpetual easement rather than outright sale to the town.
Engineers also can refine drainage options to be presented to the Park
Board, likely in March.
“We’re incredibly hopeful we won’t have to have open ditches in the park,”
said board president Rondi Wightman of the drainage proposals.
In other business, the Park Board and park superintendent Jim Miller
regretfully said they’ve abandoned any plans of having an ice skating rink
at Hawthorne this unseasonably warm winter. “We’ve never been more ready,”
Wightman and board member Jessie Campaniello thanked Porter department heads
for helping Miller ready the rink. “I know it didn’t pan out but it was a
great group effort,” said Campaniello.
Also Tuesday, representatives of State Park Little League and a Duneland
Flyers 13-U team were granted permission to use the Hawthorne baseball field
for practice and games this season. Both groups will coordinate their
schedules, sign a use agreement and provide the required paperwork.
Park officials said it’s possible that volunteers will be able to operate
the baseball concession stand, which has been undergoing a renovation.
Among other requests approved last night was that of John Beckman of Lake
County Fish & Game, who has spearheaded a restoration of wetlands at the
adjacent Little Calumet River. The board authorized Beckman to investigate
if it would be feasible and what would be involved in creating a salmon
spawning area at an active spring several feet higher than the nearby river.
Porter United Methodist Church was granted permission to host its
traditional 7 a.m. Easter Sunday Service at the Hawthorne gazebo; the rental
fee was waived. A reduced fee was approved for Narcotics Anonymous to host
two family events in 2011 at the community building where NA meets.
For a six-month trial period a morning yoga group will be allowed to meet
twice a week at the community building for $25 a month. Participation is
open to the public and if the attendance increases, so might the rental fee,
said board members.
Park administrator Stephanie Miller said Westchester Public Library has
scheduled a summer community concert at the Hawthorne gazebo June 13 at 7
p.m. Miller is working with WPL staff to possibly host additional concerts
Board members discussed plans for the March 31 children’s Easter Egg Hunt at
Hawthorne, which includes a visit from the Easter bunny, and for Thursday’s
7 p.m. inaugural meeting at the community building of the new Bud’s Buddies
friends of the parks group, which is open to the public.
Jim Miller reported on maintenance and repair projects that are being pushed
ahead of schedule due to the warmer weather. He thanked the Porter Public
Works department for its cooperation on some of the work.