Chesterton Tribune

Town pushing LEL to keep Coffee Creek Center promises

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Is Coffee Creek Center an eyesore?

Chesterton Town Council Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd, is fearful at least that it may become one, with numerous brick pavers missing from the roadways in the development.

At its meeting Monday night, members voted 5-0 to instruct Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann to launch an investigation of possible violations of Town Code and non-compliance with the planned unit development ordinances which govern the Lake Erie Land Company’s project.

At its June meeting, the Advisory Plan Commission did the same thing.

At issue: the missing pavers; the failure of Lake Erie Land to develop 17 acres of property as an “active park,” separate and distinct from the Coffee Creek Watershed Conservancy; the failure of Lake Erie Land to file proof of liability insurance; and other potential violations.

Lukmann, who made contact with Lake Erie Land following the Advisory Plan Commission’s unanimous vote on June 16, told the council on Monday that “they asked us to be patient.” But, he promised, “I’ll get our whole team together” for a review of the situation.

“I heard they might be contracting with someone to get (the pavers) done, so that’s positive,” Lukmann added.

Although the roadways in Coffee Creek Center are public rights-of-way, the PUDs specify that Lake Erie Land is responsible for maintaining them, as they were constructed of special permeable pavers which town staff did not entirely expect to “stand up to Northwest Indiana weather,” Lukmann noted.

With Porter hospital building a new facility just down the road from Coffee Creek Center—and the town actively working to infrastructure the Ind. 49 corridor south of the Indian Toll Road to open it to commercial development—“the last thing we need is for Lake Erie Land property to look like an eyesore,” Trout said.

Kudos for Getting the Job Done

Member Nick Walding, R-3rd, took a moment at the end of the meeting to express his gratitude to department heads—chiefly Street Commissioner John Schnandenberg, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell, Utility Superintendent Rob Lovell, and Town Attorney Lukmann—for “taking the bull by the horns” and getting South Calumet Road paved in the teeth of the strike by Operating Engineers Local 150.

“They stepped up to the plate and got done what had to be done,” Walding said. “The businesses appreciated it and the town appreciated it.”

On June 27, after more than two weeks of inactivity and a gaping wound in the heart of Chesterton, the Utility Service Board voted to declare the Downtown an emergency, terminate its contract with Rieth-Riley, and hire Rock Solid Paving & Excavating of St. John to re-surface the roadway.

That work “went smoothly,” O’Dell reported to the council on Monday. “The asphalt trucks were lined up all day long.”

And now, finally, O’Dell said that he can officially call the Downtown utility project “completed, done.” O’Dell, like Walding, thanked Schnadenberg and Lovell for doing the legwork necessary to position the Service Board for its emergency vote.

One day after paving began on South Calumet Road, Local 150 and the three contractors’ associations settled the strike.

Posted 7/12/2011