Chesterton Tribune

 
 

Porter Parks asked to assume maintenance for hike/bike trails

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By PAULENE POPARAD

Porter Park Board members said Tuesday they are awaiting a formal proposal from the town’s Redevelopment Commision asking park employees to maintain Porter’s expanding hike/bike trail network.

The RDC meets Oct. 23 and president Elka Nelson said the terms of that agreement and what the RDC will pay the park to provide trail maintenance will be discussed.

Taking on that responsibility would require the Park Department to reorganize its employee responsibilities, and it was confirmed last night that current park superintendent Jim Miller tentatively has agreed in principle to fill the new position of full-time maintenance specialist.

After the meeting Miller said, “We’ll see what the job description is and if everything pans out. I have to see the terms.”

After 24 years with Porter Parks, earlier this year Miller resigned effective Dec. 31 but later rescinded it. The Park Board hadn’t indicated whether he would be allowed to continue his employment beyond year’s end although several residents have voiced support for Miller at public meetings.

Reading from a prepared statement Tuesday, president Rondi Wightman said after receipt of the RDC proposal the Park Board plans to call a public meeting to finalize the new job descriptions as well as a 2013 park salary schedule. The second of two full-time positions would be a park director to handle administration of the parks including reservations, programs, community outreach and fundraising.

Additional seasonal employees would be hired.

Stephanie Miller currently serves as park administrator and performs some of the proposed director’s responsibilities. She also has announced her intention to resign effective Dec. 31 and still plans to do so.

During board comments member Patty Raffin said she had no plans to seek the park administrator’s or any other town position despite rumors to the contrary.

In other business, Wightman was the lone dissenting vote on a motion to spend not more than $400 on the Oct. 28 Boo Bash children’s Halloween party. She later told the Chesterton Tribune that amount is way too much for the 150 to 200 children estimated to attend.

The board was unanimous in allowing Jim Miller to continue to employ a part-time seasonal maintenance worker through December. Miller also was given permission to attend a turf seminar at a cost not to exceed $600.

It was reported that the recent Porter’s Perfect Pint specialty brewfest attracted 600 people at Hawthorne Park, and income from a silent auction held to benefit the Park and Fire departments equally still is being tallied.

Park Board member Nikki Crist inquired about the rutted condition of some Hawthorne grounds following several recent events there. Miller said after a good rain and time the depressions usually fill in, but if they do not he will restore the damaged areas.

Alice Foote Cloonan of the Duneland Seniors group that meets Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hawthorne community building outlined upcoming activities, invited seniors to attend, and thanked the Millers for their help as well as the anonymous persons who donate postage and bingo door prizes.

Zathoe Sexton of the Bud’s Buddies friends of the parks group reported on upcoming plans and invited park supporters to join Buddies members the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the community building. Membership is free.

 

 

 

 

Posted 10/17/2012