Dance lessons in
Thomas Centennial Park? Flashlight tag? It could be coming.
The Chesterton Park
Board is hopeful of securing a 50/50 match grant which would fund
specifically “place-based” activities in the Downtown aimed at building
community and a sense of municipal space.
At their meeting
Tuesday night, members voted unanimously to endorse MS4 Operator Jennifer
Gadzala’s application for a Quick Impact Placebased (QuIP) grantŃavailable
through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA)Ńand to make
Thomas Park available for grant-funded activities.
According to OCRA’s
website, the QuIP grant is “designed to fund the type of space enhancement
and community transformation that sparks community-wide conversation and
creativity. It is OCRA’s belief that these types of social and built
environments should occur at the local level and be community driven. It is
the people, places, and spaces that make Indiana a great place to live.”
Among the sorts of
activities which a QuIP grant might fund, OCRA says: alley art galleries;
pop-up public gathering spots; transformation of vacant store fronts;
shipping container repurposing.
The whole idea,
Gadzala told the board, is to “create a sense of place in the Downtown,” to
“inspire community transformation,” and to foster a “connectedness” to
Thomas Park. OCRA awards a maximum grant of $5,000, to be matched by the
municipality. Gadzala said that she will be approaching the Town Council to
request the match.
which Gadzala has in mind would appeal to all ages and are “low cost and
easily implementable”: dance lessons; flashlight tag; seasonal art making; a
karaoke night; and a bubbles night. “We’ll be involving the public in
planning the activities,” she noted, and in particular will ask Duneland
Schools students to help.
The grants are, she
added, “highly competitive,” but bonus points can be awarded to applications
which include, for example, an educational component. Thus on bubbles night
students could teach folks about the physics of bubbles.
Gadzala also said
that any activities planned would be scheduled around the numerous events
already on tap in Thomas Park this year.
In other business,
members voted unanimously to grant the Duneland Diamond organization use of
the baseball field at Chesterton Park, at the northwest intersection of West
Porter Ave. and South Fifth Street.
It did so under the
same terms as last year: in lieu of fees, Duneland Diamond will continue to
maintain and improve the field.
Dan Ameling told
the board that a great deal of work was done last year, including the
installation of pavers around the planters; edging around the lily garden;
the applicationŃtwiceŃof weed killer to the field itself; and the planting
of two trees.
This year the
organization plans to complete a brick plaza behind the backstop, extend the
shed toward the field, work on home plate drainage, and continue edging and
tree planting. Ameling added that Duneland Diamond has applied to be a
Rebuilding Together community project this April.
Ameling did make
one plea: to return the portable toilet which was removed from the park in
the fall. “It was really an inconvenience,” he said. “I know it’s an
eyesore. But it’s a necessary evil.”
Members also voted
unanimously to grant the Duneland Flyers organization use of the softball
fields at Dogwood Park.
Flyers organization was founded in 2001 and is proudly celebrating its 19th
year in 2019,” President John Kallen said in a letter to the board. “Our
teams have proudly represented Chesterton and are well recognized and
respected throughout the Midwest and somewhat nationally as a competitive
and sportsmanlike organization. Our players learn honor, respect, teamwork,
cooperation, and many will end up as future leaders of our community.”
Flyers teams will use the fields on the west side of Dogwood Park from 4 to
8 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from April 1 through July 31, and contribute
$20 per playerŃfor a total of $660Ńtowards the maintenance of the grounds.
“We hope to
contribute many thousands of dollars in volunteer hours as well as equipment
and material in the future,” Kallen added.
Corkscrew & Brew
voted unanimously to grant the Duneland Chamber of Commerce use of Thomas
Centennial Park for the fourth annual Corkscrew & Brew event, from 12 to 4
p.m. Saturday, March 16.
Maura Durham told the board that there are no changes from last year’s event
in the proposed contract.
A dozen vendors
will be on hand for the 21-and-over-only event and the Chamber is expecting
some 700 people to attend, Durham said.