CHESTERTON | The Porter County Parks Foundation is looking at creating the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Chesterton.
During Monday's Town Council meeting, foundation member Tim Cole spoke about the “wasteland” on 11th Street between Porter Avenue and County Road 1100 North. The group hopes to turn the land into a bird sanctuary by removing invasive species and making other upgrades.
He said the land is not usable for any other purpose because it is in need of rehabilitation and a “previous owner physically cut a channel through the property in order to drain it for development that never occurred.”
Matt Keiser, of design group Abonmarche, presented the Town Council with a proposal for the 38.9 acres to restore wetlands.
Keiser said there would be a number of conservation and birding groups involved, including the Audubon Society, the Shirley Heinz Land Trust and the Northwest Indiana Migratory Bird Association.
He asked for a member of the Town Council to be appointed as a liaison to work with them of any issues as they move forward. Jim Ton was selected.
“You aren’t looking for money but you are looking for in-kind help," Council President Sharon Darnell said. "This is such a refreshing project if that’s what you’re looking for. It sounds pretty amazing.”
The group is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Indiana Department of Environmental Management to restore the property.
In other business, Gina Darnell, of the town’s tree committee, said NIPSCO will be planting 20 trees to replace those removed from Fifth Street and the town will add another 16 in this area.
The town also will be planting 49 trees total throughout Chesterton, funded by the committee, Indiana American Water and individuals.
She said they will be giving away 400 saplings on May 3 at the first European Market of the year in celebration of Arbor Day. Katie Rizer, with the Coffee Creek Watershed Conservancy, will plant 380 trees to replace some of their 1,600 trees lost to the emerald ash borer.
Police Chief David Cincoski said officers will be canvasing abandoned vehicles today through Friday, including those underneath tarps. Officers will tag, and then 20 days later, remove and impound them at the owner’s expense.
He defined an abandoned vehicle as a model at least three years old; on private property visible from public property; immobile in excess of 20 days; has the transmission, engine or differential removed; and is mechanically inoperable.