Lehman & Lehman
Inc., a landscape architecture consultancy based in Mishawaka, is currently
at work updating the Chesterton Park Board’s five-year master plan.
That plan must be
submitted to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and formally
adopted by April 15, 2020, in order for listed projects to be eligible for
the next round of state and federal grant funds, but work is proceeding
well, Chuck Lehman told the Park Board at its meeting Tuesday night. Soon,
he said, a survey will be available for posting to the Park Department’s
Facebook page, where the public will have the opportunity to offer input on
the master plan.
However, Lehman was
more interested on Tuesday in putting a bug in the board’s ear, specifically
with regard to what he considers the untapped potential of Coffee Creek
Park, located immediately east of the South Calumet Road business block.
“Is there an
economic development opportunity there?” Lehman suggested. “Can this be an
extension of the Downtown? It’s directly adjacent to the Downtown business
district. It’s unique. There’s a lot of amenities in the Downtown that could
take advantage of Coffee Creek Park.” And, he added, the park has something
of a history, as the location of the Chesterton Water Utility’s pumping
among other things, walkways and bikeways connecting Coffee Creek Park to
the entire Coffee Creek Watershed, either to the north or the south.
“There’s a lot that would have to go into studying this but there’s a lot of
opportunities there. It could become a project more than a park.”
To that end, Lehman
noted that there’s no reason why the next master plan needs formally to list
the redevelopment of Coffee Creek Park as a prioritized project. “We could
put it in the action plan as something to be studied. We don’t even have to
put money into it right now. Maybe in the next five-year plan.”
“So this is just
the beginning of a plan?” Member Mark Dickinson ventured.
Lehman said. “The easier thing is to plan it. The big-ticket item is to
Lehman noted that
some general question about Coffee Creek Park could be included in the
public survey which will be posted to the Park Department’s Facebook page.
Nothing too specific, he cautioned, as “it would be very hard to articulate
this in the survey.” Something more along the lines of “connectivity.”
Christmas in Thomas
In other business,
Superintendent Bruce Mathias reported that all park restrooms have been
closed for the winter, with the exception of the boxcar restroom in Thomas
Centennial Park, which will remain open until after the Duneland Chamber of
Commerce’s Mistletoe Market, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.
Marciniak took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank Mathias and his
crew for their decoration of the park. “I think Thomas Park looks great,”
she said. “I know the weather was challenging. But you guys did a terrific
Tucker, for her part, thanked everyone involved in raising this year’s
Christmas tree in Thomas Park: Jim and Bonnie Reeder for donating it; Joe
Wagner of Joe’s Towing and John Bell of L.A. Bell Trucking for delivering
it; and the Chesterton Street Department for placing it and decorating it.