Chesterton Tribune



Neighbors press Park Board on un-netted tennis court at Waskom Park

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The rehabilitation of Kipper Park, serving Westchester South, is complete--although, as Chesterton Town Engineer Mark O’Dell told the Park Board at its meeting Tuesday night--“one of the new trees looks a little iffy.”

The rehab of Waskom Park, serving Duneland Cove, is substantially complete, on the other hand, although some grading will have to wait until the ground is dry and the tennis and basketball courts still need their nets.

By unanimous votes members agreed to accept final completion of the Kipper project and substantial completion of the Waskom project, and accordingly to re-open both parks to the public.

The un-netted tennis court at Waskom, however, proved to be a chicken bone in the throat of Rob Petro, who from the floor wanted to know when exactly the net will be installed. “If you deliver it, we’ll do it ourselves,” he told the board.

That won’t happen, President Candy Tucker replied. It really has to be done by the Park Department.

“It feels like if it were on the west side of town, this would be done already,” Petro pressed. “But it’s on the east side of town.” He added that, though the park may be officially closed, kids for some time have been playing basketball in the basketball court and lacrosse in the tennis court.

Member Paul Shinn admitted being taken aback by Petro. “I thought you guys were hear to thank us for the park.”

“I will say thank you,” Petro said. “The tennis court looks beautiful. But you can’t use it. So it would be wonderful if the Park Department could take the time and put up the net. We’re actually spending more man-hours here in the meeting talking about this than it would take to put up the net.”

O’Dell did suggest that there are 12 other tennis courts located in town.

Which doesn’t do any good to the “six CHS tennis team members who live in the neighborhood but don’t drive,” Petro said.

Matt Jewison, a neighbor, agreed with Petro. “It’s sad that it’s taking this long to happen,” he said. “That’s all we can do, is come and complain.”

Here’s the point, Shinn told Petro and Jewison. The board only just accepted substantial completion on Waskom, and not until that point could the board re-open the park to the public. And substantial completion was dependent on the contractor, Gariup Construction Company, being able to get the work done. But June was almost as rainy as May. “Gariup is at the mercy of the weather,” Shinn said. “And the nets couldn’t be installed until the Park Board opened the park.”

So when will the nets be installed? Petro insisted.

“I’ll give you a date,” O’Dell said. “It’ll be done before Aug. 6,” when the Park Board next meets.

Petro had one other bone to pick with the board. Reminding members that he had previously suggested converting the currently soggy ground at Waskom into a sledding hill, Petro wanted to know whether the board is interested in such a project.

There’’s a sledding hill in town already, Shinn reminded Petro: at Coffee Creek Park.

“But that’s on the west side of town,” Petro said. “And people on the east side of town are forced to cross Ind. 49. We’re landlocked on this side of town.”

“A sledding hill we’ll have to consider at a later date,” Tucker said. “A sledding hill is not a priority at this time.”

Splash Pad

In other business, Mathias reported that work continued this week on the splash pad, which remains out of service after heavy rains in May dislodged and floated the pad’s control vault up and out of the ground, sheering off the pipes in the process.

The solution, still in the works: pouring 14 or 15 cubic yards of concrete slab into the bottom of the hole and then securing the vault to the slab, to anchor it beyond all possibility of future movement.

The rains which caused the problem in the first place, however, have hindered repairs. This week a Vactor truck supplied by the Stormwater Utility removed six inches of mud from the hole, into which Mathias poured an 18-inch base of gravel. Concrete forms and rebar were then installed and Mathias is now preparing to set “kickers” in place to brace the forms and prevent “blowout” when the concrete tonnage is actually poured, probably early next week.

Depending, of course, on the weather.

Once the concrete has set, Mathias will re-connect the pipes and electric, then run the splash pad for at least a week “to make sure there are no leaks.”

Mathias still can’t say definitively when the splash pad might be returned to service but is confident that sometime this summer both it and the kids will be back in action.

Mathias did express his gratitude to the Stormwater Utility, the Fire Department, and the Street Department for their all-hands assistance this week.


Meanwhile, MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala reported that seven video surveillance cameras have been installed on and about the boxcar restroom facility in Thomas Centennial Park. The cameras are all live and may be monitored remotely by select staff on smartphone, PC, and iPad; and they have zoom/save/download capability.

Also: the fencing around the boxcar restroom and caboose comfort station has been completed, solar deck lighting installed, and all signage placed, including a donation plaque.

The plaque is “absolutely beautiful,” Tucker noted.

In addition, Gadzala said that she will be ordering landscaping lighting next week but is still waiting on a landscape design.

Cleanup Day

The Cleanup Day at Coffee Creek Park on Saturday, June 15, was hugely successful, Gadzala was happy to report, although “some people got poison ivy” and there was a “pouring freezing rain.”

Yet neither toxic plants nor foul weather succeeded in dampening the spirits of the 17 volunteers--three town employees, two Park Board members, and a Town Council members--who cut back something like 45 cubic yards of brush along Lois Lane and removed a beaver dam from beneath the bridge.

Another cleanup day will be held late in August or early in September, Gadzala added.

Cruise Night

Mathias took a moment to say a few words about last month’s edition of Chesterton Cruise Night, on Saturday, June 29, in the Downtown.

“We had an excellent turnout,” he said.



Posted 7/3/2019




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