Coffee Creek Park priorities identified in $ 13.6 million renovation

Rendering of plans for Coffee Creek VILLE DE CHESTERTON / provided

The first steps in a $ 13.6 million renovation for Coffee Creek Park would likely be to improve the pond and develop the downtown grand entrance across from Thomas Centennial Park, according to the city consultant.

Jon Ruble of Chesterton’s Planned Environment Associates presented a list of project priorities for the Coffee Creek Park project at the Chesterton Park board meeting on December 7.

The park’s board of directors unanimously approved the priorities set out in the management plan. Board member Paul Shinn said “he liked the way” the proposed blueprint is presented in phases.

It will take years to execute the master plan which is designed to improve park amenities and to better connect the 12-acre park behind South Calumet Road with downtown Chesterton. The projects will largely be funded by municipal funds, impact fees levied on new developments, federal and state grants, and private donations.

Ruble said there were eight separate projects that were identified. After a review, he said, the improvement of the pond and the development of the main entrance to the city center were identified as the starting projects. The pond improvement is expected to cost $ 627,157 and the city has already applied for a Lake Michigan coastal grant of $ 200,000 that would cover part of the cost, Ruble said.

The downtown entry point would require a plaza in Block 100 of South Calumet Road, across from Thomas Centennial Park, and would cost around $ 970,255.

There is a building for sale at 107, chemin S. Calumet which has been tentatively identified as a possible site. The council held a private executive session prior to the meeting to discuss possible land purchases. When asked the assistant city attorney, Connor Nolan, if any land purchases related to Coffee Creek had been discussed, he replied “they could have”, but could not say more.

The other priority projects that follow and their cost include:

* $ 2,317,520 for floodplain improvement and park trail development.

* $ 732,550 for the improvement of the entrance and the existing playgrounds on Morgan Avenue.

* $ 3,326,748 for the entrance improvement on Indiana Avenue and the beautification of Lois Lane.

* $ 1,270,750 to develop an amphitheater and seats on Indiana Avenue.

* $ 992,979 for the parking lot and Indiana Avenue development area.

* $ 3,391,407 for a multi-purpose event center.

In other cases, the park council has given park superintendent Shane Griffin permission to determine the location of the new pickleball fields in Chesterton and to investigate the cost of their development.

A number of pickleball advocates, led by Lori Laster of Duneland Pickleball, attended the meeting. They have asked the Chesterton Park Board of Directors for more pickleball courts due to the sport’s growing popularity.

Paul Petro has asked the municipal park commission not to use the tennis courts in Waskom Park for pickleball, as they are regularly used for tennis. He said the area is also not equipped to handle traffic that could come from pickleball participants.

Laster said she agreed with Petro’s judgment and noted that there are other places, such as Chesterton Park and Dogwood Park, that could provide suitable space for pickleball courts.

“We would like to work with the city and find the best location for these courts,” said Laster.

Griffin told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting that a site for six pickleball courts had been tentatively identified at Chesterton Park, near where two fields already exist. Griffin said the final decision has not been made.

Park council also heard a repeated request from Richard Riley, owner of Riley’s Railhouse, to consider restoring Railroad Park’s original name to what is now Thomas Centennial Park. The downtown property was previously known as Railroad Park until its name was changed to honor the city’s founder. Riley advocated that the city play on its rail roots to help attract more rail tourists to the community.


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