Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton Town Council repeats itself: No extra Market space for food trucks

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A roomful of local restaurant owners loaded for bear heard the Chesterton Town Council at its meeting Monday night say exactly what it said at its last meeting: the town’s contract with the European Market will not be amended to extend the market’s footprint south to West Indiana Ave., as a way of creating space for food trucks.

Before anyone even had a chance to speak from the floor, Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, took a moment to reassure the restive restaurateurs. “I just want to make it real clear,” he said. “We made it clear to the (Duneland Chamber of Commerce) at our last meeting that we don’t want them down Third Street, that they are to hold the footprint that they were allowed.”

Member Jim Ton, R-1st, concurred. “As president of the Chesterton Economic Development Company, I can say we recently gave a $10,000 loan to a local restaurant for start-up costs,” he said. “It would be the height of hypocrisy for me to sit here and vote to bring in food on trailers, when we have brick-and-mortar restaurants in town. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not a hypocrite.”

Ton, noting that it’s not simply the restaurant operators who expressed concern about food trucks but also neighbors and the Westchester Public Library, added, “We’re here to support the brick-and-mortar restaurants, and the neighborhood, and the library.”

Ton then made a motion to the effect that the European Market will retain its current footprint and that it will not be permitted to extend to West Indiana Ave. But Associate Town Attorney Julie Paulson said that no motion is actually necessary. The town’s contract--which doesn’t expire until 2022--“spells out the footprint” perfectly clearly, she said.

Jennifer Klug, representing Round the Clock, did speak anyway, reading a letter from that restaurant’s owner making a case against food trucks. “We are asking all restaurant owners and employees to unite and stand against this insult to us as local business and community leaders,” Klug read. “We work very hard to provide public services as well as jobs in our community, which in turn allows money to recirculate back into our local economy rather than be packed up and taken out of town/state with the temporary merchants.”

DeLaney, meanwhile, repeated his suggestion to the Chamber, made at the council’s last meeting, that should the European Market be in need of additional space for traditional tent and booth vendors the Chamber should seek permission from the Park Board to use currently unutilized space in Thomas Centennial Park.

Finally, Ton put in a plug for the so-called CHAMP (Chesterton Hometown Assets Maximization Program) loan, available through the Chesterton Economic Redevelopment Company. The loan, up to $20,000, comes with a 2-percent interest rate and must be repaid in five years with two payments per year. The $10,000 loan to which Ton was referring was made to Las Mamacitas, in the space formerly occupied by Volstead and before that Popalano’s, at 225 S. Calumet Road. A CHAMP loan may be used for all manner of business improvements or equipment purchases.

The CHAMP program is capitalized at over $200,000, Ton added. Applications are available at the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office, 1490 Broadway.

On the Referendum

In other business, DeLaney took a moment at the end of the meeting to speak briefly about last week’s vote on the Duneland School Corporation’s referendum to continue an additional property-tax rate.

The referendum won overwhelmingly.

“We have a great school system in a great community,” DeLaney said. “And we have to keep it going. I get it. It’s tough. I’m retired on a fixed income too, but it’s only a continuation of what we’ve been paying. I truly believe that the administration of the schools will do the right thing.”

On National Police Week

DeLaney also noted that this week is National Police Week. “When you see a police officer, tell them Thank you.”



Posted 5/14/2019




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