Proceeds from the
$2-million park bond issued late in 2015 have been exhausted, invested in a
wide variety of improvements throughout the Chesterton Parks system:
brand-new playground equipment and a new restroom at Dogwood Park; the
splash pad at Chesterton Park; rehab of Waskom and Kipper parks; and the
boxcar restroom at Thomas Centennial Park, among other high-profile
So, in the New Year
2020, the Park Board is now wondering: What’s next?
Whatever it is,
though, will have to be done on something of a shoestring, with a lot of
bang for a little buck, for as Superintendent Bruce Mathias made clear at
Tuesday meeting of the Park Board, “We don’t have the money we had. We’re
back to the regular Park Department budget.” And, of course, to whatever
moneys are currently in, or might be donated to, the Gift Fund.
Member Paul Shinn,
accordingly, suggested the wisdom of applying for a partnership this year
with Duneland Building Together. The application for a project is due Jan.
31, however, so Shinn urged his colleagues to get cracking on ideas. “We
could do some work in Coffee Creek Park,” he said. “Or it could be something
Shinn is also
hopeful of scheduling another couple of cleanup days at Coffee Creek Park.
Two were held last year, and huge amounts of scrub brush were cleared and
chipped. Mark Hopkins, owner of Hopkins Ace Hardware, played a major role
last year in organizing the cleanups and equipping them, and he was in
attendance at Monday’s meeting. “We can keep chipping away there,” he said.
“Maybe this year work on the pond,” possibly borrowing the Stormwater
Utility’s newly acquired flail mower for the powerful and efficient removal
of scrub, small trees, and other vegetation.
advised seeking grants and enlisting other volunteer support. “Some folks at
NIPSCO are interested (in the work at Coffee Creek Park) and so are some Boy
Scout troops,” he told the board.
Shinn liked the
notion of grant funding and asked Hopkins and town staff to be on the
lookout for opportunities. “Anything that we’re missing that’s out there.”
In other business,
at Mathias’ request, members voted unanimously to solicit quotes--or bids,
if appropriate--for the demolition of the old Park Department offices and
maintenance shop on the east side of 23rd Street.
At the same time,
Mathias proposed the construction of a new storage building at the Park
Department compound on the west side of 23rd Street. It would be
approximately 80’ x 40’ in size and enclosed and used mostly for the storage
of fleet vehicles and other equipment. The current storage facility--only
35’ x 40’--is completely full, Mathias said.
voted unanimously to grant use of one baseball field at Dogwood Park West
and one at Dogwood Park East, each for four hours one day a week, to the two
recently established Indiana Lightning travel teams.
Both teams will
practice on the same day: from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Dogwood West; and from
4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Dogwood East.
was originally affiliated with State Park Little League but is now
independent and needs a new practice field.
Members also voted
unanimously to accept a $250 donation from Indiana Lighting to the Park Gift
voted unanimously to grant use of the baseball field at Chesterton Park to
the Duneland Diamond organization, comprised of four spring teams, four fall
teams, and two adult teams.
In lieu of fees,
Duneland Diamond will continue to maintain and upgrade the field. Dan
Ameling of Duneland Diamond told the board that last year the brick backstop
behind home plate was completed; something like half of the mulching around
the field done, with the help of Rebuilding Together Duneland; and 14 trees
planted along South Fifth Street and West Porter Ave., through a grant
awarded by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission. In 2020,
Ameling said, work will begin on the infield dirt and drainage.
Last year two
Duneland Diamond teams made the All-Stars, Ameling noted, and both advanced
to state competition.
At President Candy
Tucker’s recommendation, members voted unanimously to establish--and
advertise for--a new full-time laborer’s position, with the idea of making
the hire by March 30.
“The parks are
growing,” Tucker said. “There’s no doubt about it, with the prospect of a
new park developed with impact fees. I think it’s time to hire the next
“No later than the
end of March,” Tucker added, “so there’s time for the employee to receive
the proper training on equipment.”
reported that the Christmas decorations in Thomas Centennial Park “are
beautiful this holiday season,” Member Mark Dickinson noted.
Members opened the
meeting by electing officers for 2020.
By unanimous votes,
Tucker was elected president; Wendy Marciniak, vice-president; and Shinn,