Chesterton Tribune


What is in a name? Brickyard Trail to be Dunes Kankakee in Porter?

Back to Front Page





The Porter Redevelopment Commission is considering renaming the new Porter Brickyard Trail.

At its next meeting the RDC will discuss whether to seek designation of the Brickyard as a regional trail and consider it an extension of the Dunes Kankakee Trail planned generally to parallel Indiana 49 from the Indiana Dunes State Park south to the Kankakee River.

Porter RDC president Elka Nelson suggested Tuesday that with the Brickyard already built, it would duplicate efforts there to have two major north/south trails only a few miles apart. Since construction of the DK Trail in Porter would have been funded with a grant from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, Nelson said the RDA is being asked whether its money can be used to bring the Brickyard Trail up to regional standards and upgrade its wayfinding signage with a new name instead.

Remaining portions of the DK Trail still could be built by Porter County and other jurisdictions along Indiana 49 to provide access to the Indiana Dunes State Park and the Porter County Tourism visitor center north of Oak Hill Road in Porter, said town director of development Mike Barry.

At one time the Town of Porter was considering routing its DK Trail leg from the visitor center west along the Munson Ditch easement but that has proven to be problematic.

The 2.94-mile Brickyard Trail extends from the Calumet Trail in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore south to downtown Porter at Lincoln Street. Final paving of some sections and opening a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 20 at Howe Road are delayed, but Barry said completed areas of the trail are usable.

Porter also is aiming for groundbreaking and completion next year of its 1.1-mile Orchard Pedestrian Way local trail from Woodlawn Avenue west to Waverly Road, through Hawthorne Park and north to the Orchard Apartments north of Interstate 94.

Some have proposed extending the pedway north from there along Waverly and across U.S. 20 to Splash Down Dunes waterpark and beyond.

In a related matter, the RDC voted 4-0 with member Jeannine Virtue absent to offer the Porter Park Board not to exceed $25,000 in 2013 for its employees to maintain the Brickyard Trail year-round including snow removal where needed. Payment for additional supplies and equipment needed would be negotiated.

Nelson said having the Park Department maintain the trails is preferable to hiring a third-party contractor. She and Park Board president Rondi Wightman will meet to discuss terms so a final agreement can be drafted for legal review.

Hammering out details now is needed because the Park Department currently is reorganizing its employee job descriptions, said Nelson. The Park Board will meet Nov. 20 in advance of the RDCís Nov. 27 meeting.



Posted 10/24/2012