Lorelei Weimer has
successfully prevailed on the Porter County Commissioners and the Chesterton
Town Council to pony up $4,300 each to pay for a study which would determine
the feasibility of running a vintage South Shore train from the Visitor
Center on Ind. 49 to Chesterton, Porter, Dunes State Park, and back.
Now it’s up to the
Porter Town Council to put in place the final piece of the funding puzzle.
At its meeting
Monday night, the Chesterton Town Council voted 4-0 to follow the County
Commissioners’ lead and contribute $4,300 in CEDIT funds to the feasibility
study, the point of which would be to identify the cost and right-of-way
issues in laying track for the train.
The total cost of
the study: $19,500, $6,500 of which would be provided by the Porter County
Convention, Recreation, and Visitors Commission (PCCRVC). But as PCCRVC
Executive Director Weimer noted, “it’s all or nothing.” If the Porter Town
Council opts not to contribute, that’s its prerogative.
Although in that
case, Weimer added, “it all sort of falls apart at that point.”
feasibility study find a vintage train line prohibitively expensive or
otherwise not physically possible, there are two other options for the six
old South Shore cars, track, and other equipment which Bob Harris began
collecting 30 years ago and has agreed to make available for such a line:
either a static exhibit or an operational one on a single piece of property.
owner of Riley Railhouse in the Chesterton Downtown and a proponent of the
project, told the council that in his view “the risk-reward ratio is very
much tipped in our direction.”
Member Jim Ton,
R-3rd, agreed in principle. “This is potentially a great draw for tourism
and a convenience for South Shore riders,” who would be able to take the
proposed train right into the Downtown.
“What we’ve been
told,” Riley offered, “is that if we can get the first two miles in, people
will see and understand” the value of the project. “The possibilities are
Weimer has not yet
addressed the Porter Town Council on the issue.
In other business,
by three consecutive 4-0 votes, members adopted resolutions which declare
that the installation of fiber-optic sleeve in each of the town’s tax
increment financing districts would be a TIF-eligible project.
The town would only
underwrite the cost of installing the infrastructure, not the fiber-optic
Relay for Life
Members also voted
4-0 to authorize Duneland Relay for Life to decorate the Downtown with
banners and flags and such in advance of this year’s event on Saturday, June
will go up on June 16 and come down on June 30, promised Glenda Dershem of
Duneland Relay for Life.
voted 4-0 to enroll the town in the Northwest Indiana Shared Ethics Advisory
Commission, at a cost of $750 each in the first two years of membership and
$250 annually thereafter.
The goals of the
commission: heightening awareness of ethical issues within municipal
government and assisting municipal employees with the practical tools to
make ethical decisions.
As part of the
town’s membership in the commission, members also voted 4-0 to adopt a “Code
of Shared Ethics and Values,” which Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson
said does not replace or alter in any way the town’s Personnel Policy.