Chesterton Tribune



Council eyes possibility of widening sidewalk in 200 block of Broadway

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The Chesterton Town Council would very much like to hear more about an idea broached at its meeting Monday night by the Branding Leadership Team (BLT): namely, to widen the sidewalk in the 200 block of Broadway between Second and Third streets; between, that is, Spike & Buddy’s and O’Gara & Wilson’s.

Doing so would create space for al fresco dining and shade-making street trees and could be an important step in revitalizing the Downtown, snewly appointed Special Projects Coordinator Jennifer Gadzala told the council.

The 200 block has been chosen as a possible test location for sidewalk widening because businesses there were either built on slabs with no basements or have basements in the rear of the building, Gadzala said. Nor are there any relic coal chutes in the 200 block.

Town Engineer Mark O’Dell told the council that--by replacing the angled parking in the 200 block with parallel parking, with the loss of six or seven spaces--another six feet in width could be added to the eight-foot sidewalk. “Our goal is not to mess with existing sidewalks,” he said.

Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg noted that the flow of traffic, both east- and westbound, would be unaffected by a widened sidewalk. “Motorists would still stay in their lanes, with no change in traffic pattern.”

Should the widened sidewalk prove a success, Schnadenberg added, the pilot program could be extended, say, to the 100 block. “One block at a time,” he said. “The fact that there are no coal chutes (in the 200 block) would make this easier.”

Maura Durham, president of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce and a member of the BLT, said that the 200 block was also chosen for a pilot program because “it has the most congested foot traffic and because the businesses there would most benefit from it.”

The majority of the businesses surveyed are excited by the prospect of a widened sidewalk, Durham also said.

Lorelei Weimer, executive director of the Porter County Convention, Recreation, and Visitor Commission and a member of the BLT as well, said that widened sidewalks are “a trend in communities,” and that the BLT considers it a “high priority.”

Members liked what they heard. “I think it’s a great idea,” said Member Nate Cobbs, R-4th.

“This would be super,” concurred Member Jim Ton, R-1st.

The council, accordingly, instructed Gadzala, O’Dell, and Schnadenberg to gather more information and to report back on the cost of such a project, possible funding sources for it, and something like a timetable.


Posted 4/24/2019




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