Chesterton Tribune



Consultant touts economic development potential of downtown Coffee Creek Park

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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 station.

Lehman envisions, 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.

That’s correct, Lehman said. “The easier thing is to plan it. The big-ticket item is to implement it.”

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 Centennial

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.

Member Wendy 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 job.”

Member Candy 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.


Posted 12/4/2019




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