Chesterton Tribune



Porter to National Park Service: Don't make US 12 a restricted scenic highway in town

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The Porter Town Council plans to spread the word it does not want U.S. 12 designated a restricted scenic highway where at a minimum semi-truck traffic is prohibited.

Doing so would discourage economic development in Porter along the Indiana 49 and U.S. 20 corridors and create havoc if semis traveling north on Indiana 49 miss the U.S. 20 exit and try to turn around near the entrance to the Indiana Dunes State Park, said town officials Tuesday.

To voice its opposition the Town Council unanimously authorized letters be sent to the National Park Service, which has led the scenic-highway effort; the Indiana Department of Transportation, which likely would yield U.S. 12 jurisdiction to NPS; and to state and federal representatives that oversee both agencies.

Porter council president Elka Nelson said most recently the town has been getting conflicting answers --- ranging from it’s a done deal to no knowledge of it --- about the scenic highway that was proposed several years ago by the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to improve its visitors’ experience.

Nelson said removing semi traffic from U.S. 12 east of Porter to some point along U.S. 12 in Burns Harbor would adversely impact both towns, and she noted the tri-town Duneland Economic Development Co. plans to address the matter as well.

At last week’s monthly meeting the Burns Harbor Advisory Plan Commission discussed problems there associated with a possible scenic-highway designation.

In other business, the Porter Town Council approved not to exceed $60,000 in CEDIT funds for Porter’s share to repave 23rd Street from Wood Street to Dakota Street in a joint project with Chesterton, which shares jurisdiction over the road. Porter Public Works superintendent Brenda Brueckheimer said she hopes the work will begin soon.

Also Tuesday, the council voted 5-0 to approve three separate assembly permits for annual summer events; each was contingent on final insurance paperwork being submitted.

OK’d were the Aug. 4 & 5 Chesterton Art Fair in Hawthorne Park, the July 3 midnight parade with festivities from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. sponsored by Wilson Management/Village Tavern, and the July 20 Village-sponsored dance on Lincoln Street to benefit the Porter Fire Department from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

In the case of the midnight parade and street dance, both included a deadline of 12 midnight for outdoor music to cease.

In other matters:

*  Co-chairpersons Eric Ailes and Sophia Keating invited the public to Friday’s Safety Fest from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Hawthorne Park. The Porter Fire, Police, Park and Public Works departments will host demonstrations and activities for area youth to promote safety awareness.

*  The council later approved a disbursement not to exceed $500 from the town’s CEDIT account to help defray Safety Fest expenses.

*  On a 5-0 vote the council suspended the rules and appropriated $1,768 into the Park Department budget as proceeds from its recent auction of surplus equipment. Of that amount $1,368 went into the park superintendent line item and $400 to miscellaneous supplies. During a public hearing, no one commented.

*  Park superintendent Brian Bugajski said tonight’s 7 p.m. outdoor band concert, ballroom dance lessons and food vendor will be moved indoors at Hawthorne Park if weather threatens and the event will go on as planned.

*  Bugajski clarified that new rules for renting Hawthorne facilities require renters wishing to serve beer and wine to obtain a temporary state permit; those wishing to serve beer, wine and liquor must use a caterer with a three-way liquor license.

*  Brueckheimer invited residents to get rid of household hazardous waste products July 6 at a collection day at Westchester Intermediate School. She also announced Porter received its MS4 Phase 2 certificate of recognition.

*  Porter building commissioner Mike Barry said town code requires grass to be no longer than 6 inches and asked residents to please comply.

*  Nelson said the council is accepting letters of intent from residents interested in filling an open Republican or Independent seat on the Park Board to serve until Dec. 31 to complete the term of Patty Raffin, who resigned last month.




Posted 6/12/2013