Chesterton Tribune



Porter seeks proposals for Kids Cove Park playground equipment

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The Porter Town Council approved Parks Director Brian Bugajski to release a request for proposals (RFP) for playground equipment at Kids Cove Park at its meeting last night.

The RFP is a tool to find out what kind of vision various playground suppliers have in mind for the park. Bugajski said he’ll send the RFP directly to five large companies and advertise publicly, as well.

The release of the RFP is the Town’s first big step in rehabbing the park, in the Porter Cove subdivision, since unsafe equipment was removed. Porter Cove residents have been raising concerns about the park for several years, saying that they are willing to help fundraise for park improvements and they feel like the forgotten subdivision.

The Town is seeking, per the scope of the RFP, proposals for equipment, installation, fall protection, and sidewalk access that will have a total cost of $85,000 to $100,000. Funding will come from the $830,000 General Obligation (GO) bond the Town secured last year for a new fire truck and park improvements. The spending goal for Kids Cove is roughly what the Town spent on each set of equipment at Hawthorne Park, according to Council President Greg Stinson.

Bugajski said he expects the proposals for Kids Cove Park to be similar in size to the sets of equipment at Hawthorne Park, but not necessarily similar in design. Taking proposals, he said, will save the Town money as opposed to approaching companies with a specific design.

“We want the playground suppliers to give us the biggest bang for our buck,” Bugajski said. “$85,000 or $100,000 in one playground system might look different in another. We want to get the best that they can give us.”

Lake Pratt Ramp Project

In other Parks business, Bugajski gave a presentation on possible ways to build an accessible ramp from the parking lot to the lake at Indian Springs Park.

Bugajski secured a 50/50 matching Lake Michigan Coastal Grant to fund engineering design for the ramp: the grant provided $5,000, and the Parks Department put up $7,000 to fund a $12,000 contract with Abonmarche for the design.

Bugajski said visitors to the park have to make their way down a steep hillside that drops 23 feet on a set of stairs that was constructed in the mid-90s out of rail ties and gravel. Bugajski said the stairs, “served their purpose for a while, but they’re starting to degrade.”

Abonmarche worked with design constraints including a limited use of concrete and ADA compliance, in order to ensure the project can qualify for future funding from the Lake Michigan Coastal Program, though, the hillside was the biggest challenge.

Bugajsk said the best of two plans Abonmarche came back with involves installing a ramp with a series of four switchbacks from the parking lot down the hillside and extending a path across the park from there. The ramp would have four sets of shortcut steps for park visitors who aren’t mobility impaired.

The path would be made from a 100% permeable material called GravelPave2, which is a system of plastic trays with weed-blocking mesh that holds ground stone into place. Bugajski said the material wouldn’t shift with freezing and thawing like regular pavers would. The stone also wouldn’t wash away in heavy rain or when Lake Pratt floods.

Next steps in the project are obtaining costs estimates for the work and looking for funding through grants or donations, according to Bugajski.

“I think it would be a great asset to the Town and the broader community to see this implemented so we can actually get access down to the Lake,” Stinson said. “It is difficult to get down there. It’s a great resource that’s being underused.”

Other Business

Bugajski made a reminder that the Family Fourth Fest is coming up Wednesday, July 4. The festivities begin with a pancake breakfast at Hawthorne Park at 7 a.m. and the parade starts at 9 a.m. There will be fun activities for all ages, including the Lion’s Club Turtle Derby and a beer garden from Leroy’s Hot Stuff. Parents are reminded that no outside fireworks or sparklers are allowed in the park at the Fourth Fest.

Bugajski also thanked the Duneland Kiwanis Club for making a donation to Porter Parks after he was a speaker at a Kiwanis luncheon.

Public Works Supervisor Brenda Brueckheimer reported the fifth annual MS4 Kids Fishing Derby at Indian Springs was a huge success: “It was just an amazing event.”

Brueckheimer thanked Bugajski and Fire Chief Jay Craig for their work on the derby, as well as several organizations that supported the event. The Department of Natural Resources and the Northwest Indiana Steelheaders were on hand to teach the kids about aquatic life and fishing; Chesterton MS4, the Porter Stormwater Board, and Rondi Wightman, on behalf of Residences at Coffee Creek, provided prizes for the kids; and George’s Gyros donated 100 hotdogs for lunch.

“Every child got to go home with a fishing pole. Everybody had a great day. It was the lowest amount of fish we’ve ever caught, but everyone had fun,” Brueckheimer said.



Posted 6/26/2019




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