Chesterton Tribune



European Market won't open on May 16

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The European Market will not begin its 2020 season on Saturday, May 16, as the Duneland Chamber of Commerce announced last week.

And it's unclear at this point when it will open.

Chesterton Town Manager Bernie Doyle told the Park Board at its meeting Tuesday evening that the Chamber, in further consultation with town officials, has determined that May 16 was "not a realistic date" for the European Market to open. "We're looking for a more realistic date and we want a detailed logistical plan from the Chamber first," Doyle said. Such a plan will need to detail safety protocols and social-distancing measures.

The Market's opening will "definitely" be a decision for the Town Council to make, Doyle added.

Doyle broached the issue of the European Market during a wide-ranging discussion of which Park Department facilities will be opened and when, following Gov. Eric Holcomb's latest executive order providing for a gradual re-opening of businesses and public spaces.

Park Superintendent Shane Griffin announced that, per the governor's executive order, he is tentatively set to re-open Park Department playgrounds on Sunday, May 24. That date could well change, though, subject to any extension of the stay-at-home order which the governor might be inclined to issue--should COVID-19 cases and deaths suddenly spike--as well as to town officials' own personal comfort levels.

The governor's executive order does permit local municipalities to implement more stringent social-distancing measures if they choose to do so.

Park Board Member Wendy Marciniak wondered when park restrooms might open and expressed the concern that "we could have some problems if restrooms aren't available."

Town Engineer Mark O'Dell, however, raised the possible issue of liability should restrooms be made available to the public. Even should crews clean them more often than once a day, he noted, "everyone's got a different definition about what clean is. Do we clean them every hour? Every other hour? We need an opinion from legal."

O'Dell added too that not every playground on Park Department property is paired with a restroom.

Griffin concurred with O'Dell. "Everything's kind of tentative right now," he said. "We want to go slowly and safely."

Member Paul Shinn suggested that Griffin speak with other municipalities' park directors for an overview of their plans to re-open, in an effort to get a "benchmark." Griffin said that he would do so.

Associate Town Attorney Connor Nolan, for his part, told the Park Board that the Town Council is currently formulating a policy for organizations interested in holding events this summer, "to do everything they can to ensure that Chesterton is not the next super-spreader." That policy could be discussed at the council's next meeting, Monday, May 11.



Posted 5/7/2020




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