Almost like magic, the Town of Chesterton now has a guarantee of nearly half
the amount it will take to build Phase II of the Westchester-Liberty Trail.
Courtesy of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.
At the Town Council’s meeting Monday night, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell
announced that NIRPC has awarded a grant of $405,834 in Transportation
Alternatives Program (TAP) funding for the next trail phase, the total
estimated cost of which O’Dell has put at $862,500.
The town originally applied for the maximum requestable
amount--$261,267--and duly ranked first of five applicants in the Pedestrian
& Bicycle Activities grant category. But then Valparaiso and Merrillville
pulled out of the grant cycle and NIRPC was good enough to add those two
municipalities’ awards to Chesterton’s, O’Dell said.
The $405,834 may be used for any component of the project, O’Dell noted:
engineering, construction, construction inspection, materials.
Phase II of the Westchester-Liberty Trail would extend the sidewalk along
the north side of 1100N from the Rose Hill Estates subdivision all the way
east to Fifth Street. Although O’Dell is guessing that Phase II will be a
two- to three-year project, he expects that later this year a request for
proposals will be issued, as the initial step in retaining an engineer.
Phase II is complicated by the designated wetlands along part of the
stretch, west of 11th Street, and permits will have to be obtained from the
Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of
O’Dell added that he plans to apply for additional TAP funding over the next
several years in an attempt to further reduce the town’s share of the cost
of the project.
Member Jim Ton, R-1st, who as the Town of Chesterton’s representative at
NIRPC has been working with it for some time on a number of projects,
including the Dickinson Road extension, put the award this way: “You’ve got
to be at the table to be served a meal.”
“That’s a very good statement about how NIRPC works,” O’Dell replied.
The council has come under pressure over the last year or so from residents
concerned about the lack of a sidewalk along 1100N between Rose Hill Estates
and 11th Street. That road is a popular one for CHS runners, students
walking to school, and other pedestrians, but is hazardous in the un-sidewalked
portion, as there is very little in the way of shoulder.