Chesterton Tribune



Park Board endorses application for grant to fund place based activities

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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.

The activities 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.

Duneland Diamond

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.”

Duneland Flyers

Members also voted unanimously to grant the Duneland Flyers organization use of the softball fields at Dogwood Park.

“The Duneland 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.”

Three Duneland 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

Meanwhile, members 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.

Chamber President 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.



Posted 2/6/2019




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