Chesterton Tribune

Porter Redevelopment agrees to gateway service contract

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The Gateway to the Dunes project which is set to renovate bridge structures on Ind. 49 where U.S. 20 and U.S. 12 pass through is crossing a bridge of its own.

The Porter Redevelopment Commission gave their approval for SEH Inc. to facilitate management for the revamp project which will use a portion of the $1.8 million in grant money received from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.

Porter Redevelopment Commission President Bruce Snyder said SEH will be handling the aesthetics portion of the planned Dunes-Kankakee trail and bridges. The principal engineering work for the bridges is being done by the Indiana Department of Transportation who will also fund the construction, Snyder said.

The Porter Town Council approved the use of grant money at their meeting in February to provide aesthetic upgrades along the U.S. 12 bridges near where the South Shore Line crosses.

In another engineering matter, town engineer Matt Kesier (absent from the meeting) left word with the commission that work on the Oak Hill sewer project is almost complete. Keiser said road work will be coordinated when the asphalt plants reopen and the landscaping of the yards will be handled after the “disturbed areas” are given a month to settle.

“We look forward to seeing the flow reduction that should come from this project,” Keiser said in his report read by Snyder.

The town has been working to fix up to 20 sewer lines on Oak Hill Road and Waverly Road since the plan was approved in 2006.

Also on Tuesday, Porter Stormwater Board President William Cantrell told the commission at the start of the meeting he wrote a letter to the Chesterton Tribune asking why they voted to purchase the Brickyard property without allowing any prior discussion at a public meeting. He said the fact that the commission had not addressed drainage and sewage matters concerned him.

“It seemed to me you were pushing over fixing the sewers,” he said.

Snyder did answer Cantrell’s letter, which also appeared in the newspaper, explaining that the commission did commit to fixing the sewers and that the commission will be holding a public hearing concerning the Brickyard development.

Cantrell formally thanked Snyder for his response.

“I only wish you would have done that before your vote,” said Cantrell.

Lastly, the commission amended a previous motion from the previous meeting for Keiser to receive proposals, not “bids”, for the repair work planned for the town hall parking lot. Attorney Ethan Lowe filling in for town attorney Patrick Lyp said there is a statutory difference between receiving bids and receiving proposals and that the motion would need to be changed.

Public Invited to Attend Rain Barrel Workshop

During Tuesday’s Porter Stormwater Board meeting, Public Works Director Brenda Brueck-heimer informed the board on the upcoming Rain Barrel Workshop that will be hosted by Porter, the town of Chesterton and the Porter County Waste Reduction and Recycling District at Hawthorne Park on May 11.

Registration for the workshop will be $20 and each participant will receive a rain barrel. The class will teach participants how to use collected rainwater for irrigation and other purposes. Preregistration is taking place now and information is available at Porter Town Hall.

“There are not enough positive things to say about this class,” said Brueckheimer. “It’s well worth the money.” The workshop is in compliance with the MS4 water pollution prevention program.

Bruckheimer also reported the town’s leaf vacuum will be out of commission this spring as it undergoes repair work and won’t be in use until fall. Residents however can bag their leaves and place them where the Public Works Department can pick them up, she said.

In a separate action, the stormwater board tabled discussion on two properties until their next meeting. Cantrell said he would first like to hear advisement from attorney Lyp, who was unable to attend the meeting, before ruling a decision.

The board is postponing discussion on lots owned by residents Don Whisler and Karen Pisowicz. Whisler said he is being billed double for his parcel in Porter Beach containing eight lots, one with a 25-foot setback. He said he felt it “unfair” to be billed for the lots he is unable to build on, referring to the town’s stormwater user fee ordinance that states a minimum of five separate lots are needed in order to obtain a building permit.

The board did however deduct the billing on a property belonging to Darrell Ritchea since the pertaining lot is merely a driveway and no building can be done on it.

Keiser also sent word to the board about making a recommendation to the town council to increase the stormwater fee from $4 to $8 per month. He said he has discussed the rates with different boards including the sewer rate committee.

No recommendation was made Tuesday due to a lack of quorum at the town council meeting.

Town Council Meeting Cancelled

Porter Town Council President Michelle Bollinger threw down the gavel at 7 p.m. announcing the meeting was cancelled since only she and council member David Babcock were behind the bench.

Council members Jon Granat, Todd Martin and Michael Genger were all unable to attend Tuesday. The council needs at least three members present in order to reach a quorum.

Posted 3/24/2010