Chesterton Tribune

Porter Park Board OKs trail easement; Born Learning Trail at Porter Cove Park

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After months of negotiation and consideration, the Porter Park Board voted 5-0 Tuesday to grant the Town of Porter a perpetual easement to use park property in and near Hawthorne Park for 2013 construction of a hike/bike trail and companion drainage improvements.

The Town of Porter Parks & Recreation Department, not the town, owns Hawthorne Park and a vacant tract south of it between Lincoln and Franklin streets that is used for overflow Hawthorne parking.

The easement is needed for the Orchard Pedestrian Way hike/bike trail, which will begin on Woodlawn Avenue and turn north at Waverly Road, wind through Hawthorne and then proceed north on Waverly crossing the “bridge to nowhere” terminating at the Orchard Apartments.

Built with the bike trail and at times under it will be a new drainage system conveying water through Hawthorne to the Little Calumet River. Drainage problems at Hawthorne will be resolved with improvements specific to the park, and part of the agreement is that culverts will be installed along the trail at a point where vehicle access to the vacant lot south of Franlin Street can occur.

Project manager Warren Thiede of Haas & Associates said he’s negotiated since April with the Indiana Department of Transportation, which is administering the trail’s federal grant funds, and INDOT recently approved Porter’s revised drainage plan concept.

At one time a large open swale through Hawthorne was proposed, but the Park Board balked.

Bill Jones of Right-of-Way Jones, who is securing the park’s easement for the town, said the agreement is needed to keep the project moving.

In addition to granting the easement as a donation without compensation, member Patty Raffin’s motion included accepting the trail plan as presented.

Also Tuesday, the Park Board agreed to allow the Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club to install an educational multi-station Born Learning Trail at Porter Cove Park adjacent to the Prairie Duneland Trail. Rotary members will discuss the exact location and layout with park superintendent Jim Miller and a board representative.

The Rotary approached the Park Board in October with its offer and it was accepted, but uncertainty over the Orchard Pedway route and easement delayed a decision, as did a planned but not located Hawthorne memorial garden.

Rotary president Brock Lloyd said his group has installed Born Learning rails at Chesterton and Burns Harbor parks, where they have generated positive feedback, and his members are ready to cover the cost and installation for Porter’s.

In other Park Board business:

• Miller said two Crimson King maples were planted at Hawthorne as a gift from Louis Kalbe in memory of his late wife and daughter.

• Park officials thanked those involved with or who donated to the July 4 Family 4th Fest, which was hampered somewhat by unseasonably hot weather. However, Miller said crowds for the fireworks were larger than the previous year.

• Park Board president Rondi Wightman acknowledged a $500 donation from the Kiwanis Club; the money was deposited in the Bud’s Buddies fund. The friends-of-the-park group is sponsoring the Dunes String Trio Aug. 8 for a Ravinia-style outdoor Hawthorne concert. Over 200 people attended this month’s concert.

• Park administrator Stephanie Miller said children still can sign up for Hawthorne’s weekday summer park program, which concludes with a Fire Department hose down July 27.

• The Park Board set Aug. 6, 7 and 9 as the dates for the Let the Kiddos Do the Cooking classes for ‘tweens; younger children can learn kitchen safety and techniques July 23/24. Both take place at the Hawthorne community building. Participants may register through the Park Department or in person the first day of class; the fee is $20 per child.

• Edmonds Tree Service ground down 23 tree stumps at Hawthorne and two stumps at Indian Springs at a cost of $2,500. Many of the trees were cut down due to Emerald ash borer infestations. Jim Miller said new replacement trees planted this spring are being watered two to three times a week during the drought and heat wave.


Posted 7/18/2012