Chesterton Tribune



NIPSCO to replace five lopsided trees trimmed by its contractor

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Mark Strudas isn’t the only Chesterton resident dismayed by the job which NIPSCO’s contracted tree-trimmer, Asplundh Tree Expert Company, did on several evergreens flanking the Duneland Diamond baseball field in Chesterton Park, along West Porter Ave. just west of South Fifth Street.

He is, however, the only one who’s taken his concerns to the Town Council. Strudas, speaking from the floor at Monday night’s meeting, noted that--while he understands not only the need to trim trees away from power lines but also the protocols in place for doing so--“a lot of money has been spent to make the baseball field look better” and the trees as trimmed have had something like the opposite effect.

President Jim Ton, R-1st, agreed with Strudas. Asplundh has been somewhat “aggressive,” Ton suggested.

Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg tended to agree as well. “There are a few I think they went overboard on,” he said. Even so, Schnadenberg told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting, Asplundh “used proper techniques,” none of the trees in question was killed by the trimming, and--because NIPSCO undertakes a municipal tree-trimming program only once in every five to eight years--it’s important to trim not just for today but for the future. “Because they won’t be back for several years.”

That was Monday.

On Wednesday, Schnadenberg told the Tribune that, prompted by Strudas’ comments, he did make contact with NIPSCO the day after the meeting to discuss the matter. And “NIPSCO was very willing to work with us,” Schnadenberg was pleased to say.

Specifically, although “under no obligation to do so,” NIPSCO has agreed to authorize Asplundh to remove five of the lopsided evergreens and then--at a location to be named later--the utility will replace them on the corporate dime, Schnadenberg said.

Schnadenberg will be consulting with Park Superintendent Bruce Mathias on an appropriate site for the new trees.

NIPSCO, for its part, said that it’s working hard to reduce the town’s high susceptibility to blackouts. “Trees are the top cause of power outages,” NIPSCO spokesman Nick Meyer told the Tribune on Wednesday. “We have been in contact with the town in performing work to clear limbs near the Chesterton substation, which was ranked the 10th worst in our entire system for reliability. We are about 80 percent done with the work and we will follow up with the town regarding any concerns being raised.”

Annexation Petition

In other business at Monday’s meeting, members voted unanimously to set a public hearing at its April 10 meeting on the Duneland School Corporation’s petition for the annexation of the six-acre bus barn property on Old Ind. 49 in unincorporated Liberty Township

Attorney Greg Babcock told the council that the bus barn’s septic system is “not in good repair” and that there simply isn’t room on the small property to build a new one. So Duneland Schools has approached the Utility Service Board about a sanitary-sewer connection, which would involve the installation of a grinder pump at the bus barn itself and the boring of a force main beneath Ind. 49 east to a manhole in Coffee Creek Center, either on Voyage Blvd. or Sidewalk Road. The Service Board has expressed its willingness to pursue the connection.

Duneland Schools, for its part, is perfectly happy to see the bus barn property annexed by the town, Babcock told the council, noting that the necessary 1/8 contiguity with Chesterton’s corporate boundary has already been established.

CPD Fleet Order

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to approve Police Chief Dave Cincoski’s request to purchase five new Ford SUV police interceptors, four of them for his department, the fifth for use by the Fire Department.

Cincoski said that he solicited three quotes for the purchase and received two. One of those two, however--that of Currie Motors Ford of Valparaiso, as it happens the lowest by $500 per unit--proved non-responsive to the CPD’s specs. For that reason Cincoski asked the council to approve the lowest responsive quote, that of Lakeshore Ford of Burns Harbor.

Total price for the five vehicles: $137,500. Moneys for the purchase, Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela said, are available in Cumulative Capital Development, a fund with a dedicated property-tax rate used exclusively for the acquisition of emergency vehicles.

Piggybacking Poles

Later in the meeting, Schnadenberg reported that he’s interested in consolidating a light pole and a traffic signal at the northwest corner of Broadway and Fourth Street into a single fixture, after discovering that the wooden pole to which the flashing red lights at that intersection have been mounted is rotten.

An electrical contractor was scheduled to inspect both poles on Tuesday, Schnadenberg said.


Posted 3/16/2017





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