CHESTERTON | While planners continue work on the Dunes Kankakee Trail, Chesterton is asking to come to the table, especially since it will run through the town.
The trail is a pedestrian-bicycle trail, a proposed route from the Indiana Dunes State Park south to the Kankakee River.
Chesterton Town Council member James Ton, a member of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission executive board, told the council he recommends Chesterton be involved in the planning process for the trail route and that the town commit to no public dollars to be used for the trail.
But council members didn't necessarily agree.
"I recommend that the placement of the trail will be up to the Town Council, and that the cost is funded by the RDA, NIRPC, or both. No public funds should be used. So far, payment has come from RDA and NIRPC, and when it comes to Chesterton it should be the same," Ton said.
Council member Emerson DeLaney said the board shouldn't rule anything out.
"The Dunes Kankakee Trail is a great economic engine," DeLaney said. "Valparaiso is distraught that it passes them, and they have to connect to it somehow. This trail comes through our town. I think it's premature to say we won't spend public monies. I agree in principle, but I see some cost sharing in part if we want to participate."
Ton said there may be two issues with the trail for Chesterton. One is the location and the other is cost.
"Other people are starting to make decisions on where the trail will go, and I'd like to see us at the table," said Ton who then amended his motion to say the town won't spend any public dollars without the recommendation of the department heads.
The council agreed and voted in favor of that motion. Town Attorney Charles Lukmann supported the action.
"Up until this point, we've been left out of the discussion," Ton said.