Chesterton Tribune



Town buys right-of-way on 1100N for Westchester Liberty Trail

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Every single story the Chesterton Tribune has ever written on Phase II of the Westchester-Liberty Trail--going back years--has been in error.

That’s the first bit of news from Monday nights’ Town Council meeting.

The second bit of news--from which the Tribune’s municipal reporter managed to deduce his long-standing mistake--is that right-of-way acquisition for Phase II has been completed.

The mistake: between 11th Street and Fifth Street the W-L Trail will not be constructed on the north side of 1100N. It will in fact be constructed on the south side. Pedestrians making their way eastbound along the north side of 1100N from Dogwood Park--Phase I of the W-L--will have to cross to the south side of 1100N at approximately Woodland Drive.

The Tribune regrets the mistake.

Meanwhile, as Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported on Monday, right-of-way acquisition for Phase II has been successfully completed, with members voting unanimously to purchase three separate pieces of property on the south side of 1100N: from the Duneland School Corporation ($34,600); the Duneland Unit of the Boys and Girls Club of Porter County ($21,200); and a private property owner east of the Duneland Unit ($19,500).

A fourth piece of property--immediately west of the Growing Kids Learning Center at the southwest corner of 1100N and 11th Street--was donated to the town by Norman Novak’s Professional Complex of Chesterton.

O’Dell told the council that the project should be let in March and April with construction commencing in the summer. “We’re right here at the 11th hour,” he said. “It’s all falling into place.”

“This one is for the kids,” noted Member Jim Ton, R-1st, adding that the W-L Trail will safely link four schools--CHS, WIS, Bailly, and CMS--to the Duneland Unit of the Boys and Girls Club.

Ton also noted that 80 percent of the $75,300 which the town paid for the right-of-way will be reimbursed, thanks to the three separate 80/20 grants provided to the town by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission. Those grants total $1,074,394. The project is being engineered by American Structurepoint Inc., which was awarded a $188,230 contract in September 2014 to design the sidewalk; conduct an environmental survey of the designated wetlands immediately east of Rosehill Estates; and acquire right-of-way.

When completed, the W-L Trail will effectively connect Dogwood Park to Coffee Creek Center, with Phase III continuing east along the south side of 1100N to a point several hundred feet west of 100E. The trail will then proceed south into the Tamarack subdivision via a piece of property owned by the Park Department and finally debouch onto 100E at Rail Road.

Re: East Porter Ave. Bridge over Sand Creek

In other business, members voted unanimously to award a contract to DLZ, in the amount of $98,065, to engineer a replacement for the East Porter Ave. bridge over Sand Creek.

Earlier this year Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported that the existing bridge is crumbling and in serious need of replacement, which wouldn’t unduly inconvenience the town if the bridge belonged to the Porter County Highway Department, as all bridges in the county do with spans of at least 20 feet.

Unfortunately for the town, the East Porter Ave. bridge over Sand Creek falls some eight inches shy of 20 feet. That means the town is responsible for its maintenance--and replacement.

On Monday, O’Dell indicated that DLZ is likely to look at less expensive alternatives to the existing bridge: a “three-span culvert or a giant box culvert,” for instance.



Posted 11/15/2016




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