“The Orchard Pedestrian Trail has hit the park,” park director Brian
Bugajski told the Porter Park Board on Tuesday.
Clearing of a path for the 8 foot-wide hike/bike trail with shoulders
through Hawthorne Park has begun and the park’s segment largely will be
completed by late September, in time for the Porter’s Perfect Pint festival
there Oct. 5.
On a 3-1 vote the Park Board approved spending $4,168 for attachments for
the purchase of a John Deere Gator HPX at a base cost of $8,509. Because the
Deere will be financed over three years, interest costs will accrue. The
park can buy the Deere for $1 at the end of the lease.
Voting no was board member Jeff Bailey. He later said it’s because, “I don’t
like trails in the first place.”
Earlier this year the Park Department entered into an agreement with the
Porter Redevelopment Commission, which is funding trail construction, to
maintain the trails including snowplowing. In addition to a fee for service,
the current agreement gives the Park Board $5,000 a year for
Bugajski said he wasn’t clear which board would own the new Deere equipment,
but that can be decided later.
On another matter, the Park Board scheduled a public input session to follow
its Oct. 15 meeting to discuss revisions to the five-year park master plan.
A survey will be released this week to solicit additional comments and a
draft plan could be presented in November. Final adoption is due by April
In other business, Park Board members disagreed whether a scheduled
executive session called for tonight was needed to review the job
performance of Bugajski, who was hired about six months ago under a Park
Department reorganization that expanded the director’s responsibilities.
Wightman defended the need, but Bailey and member Charles Kaufman said an
annual employee review is standard. Bailey said the board interacts with the
director often and knows how he’s doing. Wightman said it wouldn’t be fair
not to have the review since the director’s job description is new.
The executive session will take place as scheduled.
Under closing comments Bailey questioned why Bud’s Buddies, which he
described as an independent group non-affiliated with the park, should be
collecting money in the name of the park and competing for park donations.
Wightman said the group functions as a friends of the park and is in the
process of obtaining a 501c3 not-for-profit designation that will make it
eligible for grants not open to the park itself. Bud’s Buddies, named after
former long-time Park Board member Bud Tilden, has donated money and
services to the park already, she added, but the board can’t dictate how the
private group spends its own money.
Tuesday the Park Department received a $600 donation from Chesterton Moose
Lodge 1623 presented by governor Delbert Pullins and treasurer Norman Ruge.
The money will be used for ag lime on the Porter Cove Park ballfield.
Ruge said the Moose supports families and children. “Thank you so very much.
This is wonderful,” said Wightman.
In other business:
* Ticket sales are ahead of last year’s pace for the Porter’s Perfect
Pint brewfest celebrating specialty beers. Tickets are obtained through