Chesterton Tribune



Town of Porter nets $ 65K for Indian Springs ramp project

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The Lake Pratt Accessible Ramp project at Porter’s Indian Springs Park is moving forward with a grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Lake Michigan Coastal Program.

Porter Parks Director Brian Bugajski reported at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting that he’s gotten conditional approval for a $65,000 Lake Michigan Coastal Program Grant to fund construction of an ADA-accessible walkway from the hilltop parking lot at Indian Springs to the lake below.

Currently the only access to Lake Pratt and the Park’s greenspace are railroad tie and gravel stairs built into a steep hillside.

Bugajski began looking into a ramp for the Park last year when he secured a $5,000 Lake Michigan Coastal Program 50/50 matching grant to defray the costs of engineering design on the walkway. Abonmarche did the design for $12,000. Bugajski presented the results to the Council in June.

Bugajski said he’ll sign the grant contract for the $65,000 in September and construction on the walkway could start in spring 2021.

Use Variances

In other business, the Council adopted ordinance 2020-03, an ordinance amending Town code regarding allowed uses. The ordinance came favorably recommended by the Porter Plan Commission.

Town Planner Jim Mandon, Building Commissioner Michael Barry, and Plan Commission Attorney Laura Frost spent months working to update an outdated list of ‘allowed uses’ in Town Code, sort the allowed uses into appropriate zones, and draft the new ordinance. The issue arose last year out of discussions about ‘non-conforming structures’ and minimum square footage of residences in Town Code that formerly created barriers for would-be homeowners wanting to build in Porter.

Council President Greg Stinson noted the ordinance doesn’t change any zoning in Town, but the updates ensure that landowners can use their properties in ways that make sense for a particular zoning without going through the time and expense of getting a use variance. Unique uses will still require variances.

Economic Development Commission

Stinson reported the Council had to delay the appointment of members for Porter’s new citizen Economic Development Commission that will review requests for tax relief regarding new development in Porter. Because the Porter County Council gets to appoint one member of the three-member EDC, the Town needs to give the Council 15 days-notice to respond to a letter notifying them of their appointment.

Stinson said the Town Council received a number of applications for the two EDC positions, one to be appointed by the Council President and one by the Council as a whole, and has started reaching out to applicants.


Police Chief Jamie Spanier announced that Porter Police Lieutenant John McMahon is retiring after 22 years.

Stinson gave a brief tribute to Officer “Big John” McMahon. “The Town won’t be the same without Big John. He’ll be difficult if not impossible to replace,” Stinson said.

The Council also approved Spanier’s requests to declare McMahon’s service weapon surplus and to start soliciting quotes for three new 2021 police vehicles. The new vehicles could be all SUVs or a mix of cars and SUVs, depending on what department vehicles are going out of rotation, according to Spanier.

Fire Chief Jay Craig reported the Department’s new fire engine is in Town and a wetting ceremony is tentatively scheduled for March 1 at noon. Craig said he’s waiting on a new hose for the truck. If it arrives this week, the wetting ceremony could be moved up to Feb. 23 at noon.

Firefighter of the month is Steven Davis.

Barry got Council approval for a task order for Global Engineering to wrap up land surveying work to locate sewer inlets and outlets in Town. Barry said the Town’s Geographical Information Systems (GIS) map will be up-to-date, in accordance with MS4 requirements, once the project concludes. The remaining work is not to exceed $20,000 from the sewer fund.

Barry reported the following roads are on the 2020 paving list: E. Oakhill from Waverly to Ind. 49; Cardinal Court; all roads in the Hunter’s Glen subdivision; Ash, Birch, and Cedar Streets; Sievert; Stevens; and Hokanson.

Next year, Barry said the Town will start on Porter Cove and Woodlake Springs and finish off some stub roads in Porter Beach.


Posted 2/13/2020





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