Chesterton Tribune

 
 

Stakeholder group on tap for Dickinson Road extension

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The Dickinson Road extension is gathering momentum, of a sort.

At the Chesterton Town Council’s meeting Monday night, Mike Jabo of DLZ, the project’s contracted engineering consultant, recommended the creation of a stakeholders’ committee, with an eye specifically to the study of the Dickinson Road development area over the next 20 to 25 years.

The point of the initiative: projecting the kinds of businesses which officials hope to attract—once the link is completed between Indian Boundary Road and East Porter Ave. by way of Council Drive—and the impact on traffic volume and patterns which those businesses would have.

Those data are far more important than current traffic numbers, Jabo said, and once calculated they will be forwarded to the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) for in-putting into its own traffic model. If the Town of Chesterton can persuade NIRPC of the regional significance of the Dickinson Road extension, then NIRPC would be able to include the project in its 2040 Plan. And that would make the project eligible for federal funding.

Jabo did note that the decision of Urschel Laboratories Inc. to re-located in Coffee Creek Center puts a whole new and interesting spin on the Dickinson Road extension. In particular, the extension of Dickinson Road south from Morgan’s Corner to the Urschel site—in combination with the extension of Council Drive south to East Porter Ave.—would mean that motorists would have a north/south artery east of Ind. 49 all the way from Indian Boundary Road to the Indiana Toll Road.

Member Jim Ton, R-1st, agreed. “Visioning is vital now,” he said. “The Dickinson Road project takes on added impetus and significance” with Urschel Laboratories’ announcement. “Growth is the factor. Not current traffic but projected traffic.”

Ton said that the Redevelopment Commission will take up the subject of a stakeholders’ committee at its next meeting, Jan. 28.

Frontline Foundation

In other business, members voted 5-0 to greenlight Frontline Foundations’ 2013 Hooked on Art festival in the Downtown.

Patty Raffin, representing Frontline Foundations, specifically requested a modest expansion of the festival, adding a Friday evening meet-the-artist event, prior to the main activities on Saturday. This year Hooked on Art, accordingly, will be held on the night of Friday, Sept. 27, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28.

Frontline Foundations, headquartered in Chesterton, provides substance abuse treatment to young adults.

“I think the Frontline Foundations does a wonderful job for kids in need,” said Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd.

Dump Truck

Meanwhile, members voted 5-0 to authorize Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg to go out for quotes for a new dump truck. Those quotes will be opened at the council’s Feb. 15 meeting.

The new truck will replace a 15-year-old model.

Park Restroom Facility

Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported that he has met with architect Dave Kinel, who submitted a rough sketch for a bricks-and-mortar restroom facility in Thomas Centennial Park.

O’Dell said that Kinel should be prepared to submit a formal proposal for his services at the council’s next meeting, Jan. 28.

You’re on Camera

Park Superintendent Bruce Mathias reported that four new surveillance cameras are now up and running at the Park Department’s compound at Dogwood Park.

The council approved the purchase of the cameras last year—at a cost of $15,000 in CEDIT funds—after two ATVs were stolen from the compound.

 

Posted 1/15/2013