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Could golf carts soon cruise Winfield streets?
urgent

Could golf carts soon cruise Winfield streets?

Golf cart life, file 2017

Eric Andre travels from his home to South Park on Aug. 9, 2017, in Griffith.

WINFIELD — The town is considering becoming the next Region municipality to allow golf carts on its streets. 

But before the carts can cruise Winfield proper, town officials said there are factors, such as safety, to consider. 

The idea was pitched to the Winfield Town Council at its Aug. 24 meeting by Winfield resident and Board of Zoning Appeals Member Austin Holtz. 

Holtz said he and other residents have discussed the possibility of operating golf carts throughout town. 

"I know there's some other cities and towns in the area that also had that availability," said Holtz, who lives in Country Meadow Estates.

"As residents, we have a lot of amenities that we can access, such as the new park, Sundae Funday, movies in the park with our kids. It would be a fun convenience to have in this area."

Ride along with Officer Jimmy Weller as he patrols the region's border of Lake Michigan as part of the Lake County Sheriff's Marine Unit. Video by Connor Burge. 

Valparaiso is the latest municipality in Northwest Indiana to allow golf carts on its city streets, with the small vehicles prohibited from traveling on major roads and only licensed drivers 16 and older behind the wheel. 

Winfield Town Attorney David Austgen said it's a "great initiative," desired by residents in Northwest Indiana and the Midwest, and the town would need to find the right set of regulations unique to Winfield. 

"Every community is unique as to your characteristics, your improvements, your public safety amenities, sidewalks, roads of sufficient size, etc.," Austgen said. 

Town Council Vice President Tim Clayton, who owns a golf cart, said the rules would have to be sculpted for Winfield specifically, noting his biggest worry is 109th Avenue. 

"We have to look into those little details with it, whether it's for (a) subdivision or whatever, that's minutiae we can get into at a later time, but it's definitely something that we can definitely look into for sure," Clayton said. 

"Then, we got this community right here that's nothing but golf carts next to us. I'm sure that those residents are chomping at the bit to come out. I've seen several things that they want to go to the grocery store with it."

Councilman Dave Anderson said there is "a lot of consideration," that would need to go into allowing golf carts in town, such as acknowledging cars have traveled more than 70 mph on Randolph Street and the dips on 109th Avenue near Lakes of the Four Seasons.

Anderson said another consideration would be whether golf carts would need license plates or stickers.

"I don't think it's a simple subject," he said. 

Town Council President Gerald Stiener said the town would work with Town Marshal Dan Ball to ensure everything is done safely.

The council didn't take a vote on the matter. 

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South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at mary.freda@nwi.com or 219-853-2563.

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