Chesterton Tribune

 

 

NIRPC awards $24K grant to town for 'livable center'

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Everything old is new again.

And so it is with “livable centers,” a term used by planners and consultants to mean an area in which residents can accomplish most of their daily tasks without driving. In livable centers--just like the old days--parks, the public library, schools, businesses, and emergency-response agencies are all clustered, meaning that folks can bike or walk to most places they have to go.

Turns out, the Town of Chesterton has the largest livable center in all of Porter County, and has been awarded an 80/20 grant of $24,000 by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission to enhance it.

The town’s contribution to the grant: an additional $6,000.

Town Council Member--and NIRPC Board Treasurer--Jim Ton, R-1st, announced the grant award at the council’s meeting Monday night and said that it will be used chiefly for planning the “Calumet Connection,” the Redevelopment Commission’s term for the stretch of South Calumet Road between Porter Ave. and the Calumet Business District (formerly the Triangle).

For some time the commission has been discussing, informally, the feasibility of sprucing up that stretch of South Calumet Road--decorative street lights and such--along the lines of the work completed several years ago in the Business District further south. This grant, Ton said, will go far in getting that project off the ground.

Ton expressed his gratitude to Town Engineer Mark O’Dell, Assistant Engineer Chris Nestor, and Town Manager Bernie Doyle for expediting the grant application. “They did a stellar job,” he said.

While on the subject of NIRPC, Member Nick Walding, R-3rd, took a moment to congratulate Ton on his election this year to Treasurer by NIRPC’s Board of Directors.

CSX Agreement

In other business, members voted 5-0 to approve an agreement with CSX which will permit crews access to the railroad right of way while upgrading the traffic signal at the intersection of Indian Boundary Road and North Calumet Road.

As it happens, this project was also made possible by a NIRPC grant: this one an 80/20 award in the amount of $223,578. The town’s contribution to the grant: $55,895.

Municipal Employee ID System

Meanwhile, Doyle reported that he is currently conceptualizing an identification system of some kind for all municipal employees, both those working in the field and those in offices.

“We’ve been getting more and more requests from the public” for staff to be more easily and quickly identified, Doyle said. “It’s something we should have. And we did have one years ago.”

Doyle said that the system--probably involving a card of some sort on a lanyard--should be easy to implement and “relatively inexpensive.”

 

Posted 2/11/2014