KOUTS | This downtown park idea is catching on in Porter County.
"It worked pretty good for Valpo," Kouts Town Council President Tim Jones said after the council voted Monday to begin condemnation proceedings to buy about a quarter of an acre across from Town Hall. Located between Chase and First Source banks, it is owned by Chase.
Jones said the town has tried to buy the lot from the bank, which he said is asking $71,000, while appraisals done for the town set the value at between $40,000 and $45,000.
The town already uses the lot for activities associated with the annual Pork Fest, the Christmas Open House and other events. While Valparaiso's Central Park Plaza has an amphitheaters, a spray fountain and is planning a pavilion with an ice rink, Kouts' plans are a little more modest.
Jones said the goal is to add a gazebo and a water feature that can be used in the summer and winter. It also could have a portable stage for concerts and other performances.
"It's not big enough to build (a business) on," he said.
The council also approved a contract with The Greener Side, of Hebron, for the upcoming leaf and brush collection season. The Hebron company's bid of $29,900 was $1,000 higher than Partners Leaf Collection, of Galion, Ohio.
Greener Side has handled the job for the past couple of years and has done a good job, even raking leaves 15 feet up into the yard to collect them, Councilman Kevin Salyer said. Also, the town likes having a local company that would be easier to reach if problems occur, he said.
In other action, the council increased the fine for illegally parking in a handicapped space from $50 to $100 to comply with a change in the state law.