Chesterton Tribune



Porter Public Works employees will have Election Day off

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Porter Public Works employees will have a paid day off on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.

The reason: the Porter fire station will be a polling place, but the parking lot in front of the station on a typical weekday workday is crowded with Public Works fleet vehicles and the employees’ own private vehicles.

There’d be no good place for voters to park. And certainly no safe place for them to park, Director of Development Michael Barry told the Town Council at its meeting Tuesday night. His recommendation: to give Public Works employees a paid day off. “It’s a safety issue,” Barry said. “I don’t want people to get run over while they’re voting.”

Members agreed and voted unanimously to approve Barry’s recommendation.

2 Knoelke Drive

In other business, members also voted, on Barry’s recommendation, to mow at a cost of $200 the tall grass at 2 Knoelke Drive, at the northwest intersection of Knoelke Drive and Waverly Road.

Apparently, Barry said, the property owner is in a dispute with a contractor, and neither one has responded to Barry’s request to mow the grass. “I sent her a letter and she ignored it,” Barry said. “I’m getting a lot of calls.”

A lien in the amount of $200 will be placed on the property owner’s sewer account to cover the cost of the job, Barry added.

Trail Counters

At the request of Park Director Brian Bugajski, members voted unanimously to apply for an 80/20 grant from the Northwestern Regional Planning Commission which would pay most of the cost of four trail counters to be installed at strategic spots along the Orchard Pedway and the Brickyard Trail.

The counters, equipped with a 10-year battery life, will collect data on the number of trail users and their direction of travel. NIRPC will collect that data and use them for its own grant applications, but also make the data available to the Town of Porter.

Cost to the town: just under $3,000, Bugajski said. Total value of the gear: $14,000.

“Our share won’t be due until February or March 2021, from next year’s budget,” Bugajski noted. “And we’ll get accurate trail counts.”

Flu Shots/Rapid C-19 Testing

Bugajski took a moment to thank everyone involved in the Sept. 23 flu shot/rapid COVID-19 testing event at the Community Building in Hawthorne Park. A total of 98 flu shots were administered, and 119 C-19 tests conducted.

Bugajski expressed his gratitude to the Duneland Seniors for organizing the event; Walgreen’s for offering flu shots; the Residences of Coffee Creek for providing free lunches; and InHealth Integrated Care of Valparaiso for making the C-19 tests available without charge.

Rebuilding Together Duneland

Bugajski also thanked the 20 or so volunteers who converged on Hawthorne Park with paint brushes in hand, during this year’s Rebuilding Together Duneland event on Oct. 3. They painted the art barn and picnic tables, among other things, and did a fabulous job.

“The park looks that much better thanks to them,” Bugajski said.

Municipal Website Update

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to approve a service agreement with CivicPlus to update the town’s municipal website.

Barry, for his part, thanked the council, noting that the website is sorely in need of a facelift.

Zoom Meetings Okayed if Needed

Finally, members agreed by consensus to permit the Advisory Plan Commission to hold virtual Zoom meetings, if necessary, as it completes its work on an update of the Porter Comprehensive Plan.

Plan Commission President Laura Madigan suggested that, given the relative smallness of the town hall’s meeting room and the continued need to practice social-distancing, the Plan Commission would be unable to host any sizable in-person audience.

“We want more people than can fit in this tiny room,” Madigan told the council. “We need a large safe space"--a virtual space, not to put too fine a point on it--"if we’re going to finish the Comprehensive Plan this year.”

The appropriate links, telephone numbers, meeting IDs, and passwords will be published in advance of any Zoom meeting, so that the folks can attend in the comfort and safety of their own homes.


Posted 10/14/2020




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