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Feature Stories for December 7, 2000

The STAR is distributed every Thursday.  
The Crown Point Network offers a sneak preview of weekly cover stories.

County defers contract pass additional week

By Andrew Steele 
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - The County Council deferred action Tuesday on contracts between the county and the unions representing police officers and correctional officers. 
    County and union negotiators agreed to several minor changes in the agreement while Tuesday's council meeting was proceeding, and councilmen decided not to act on the contracts until final documents containing those revisions could be created. 
    "I know some people here want us to (approve the contracts) right now," Council President Will Smith (D-Gary) said, but "this is a new process" and "everyone should be on the same wavelength." 
    Councilman Joel Markovich (D-East Chicago) agreed, noting the council's regular December meeting is next Tuesday. 
    "If you could bring us finished products with all the i's dotted and t's crossed ... I don't know what the problem would be (waiting until Tuesday)." 
    The police and correctional officers only organized as bargaining units this year. This year's contract is the first between the two unions and the county. 
    County Commissioners also have to approve the contracts. They approved the original drafts, and Smith said Commissioner Rudy Clay (D-Gary), president of the Board of Commissioners, had said commissioners would approve the revisions. 
    The revisions, which the county's attorney, Bob Lewis, called "mostly clerical" were a result of reviews by individual council members and county staff.  
    Union leaders agreed to the one-week delay without protest. 

END

Crown Point addresses Beasor Valley flooding  

Plan to fix problem could cost city $6 million to implement

By Andrew Steele 
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - Engineers have proposed a solution for the decades - old problem of flooding in central Crown Point - now all the city has to do is come up with $6 million and acres of land to implement it. 
   The plan, created by Woolpert Associates of Cincinnati, calls for the creation of two storm-water detention ponds, construction of a pump station and stormwater main on East South Street, and installation of a sewer line from South Street to the wastewater plant on Merrillville Road. 
    The effect, engineers say, will be to alleviate the backyard and basement flooding that have plagued homeowners in the Beasor Valley drainage basin for years. 
    Mayor James Metros and City Engineer Jeff Ban presented the plan to about 20 residents at City Hall on Nov. 28. 
    "This plan is even more expensive than we originally thought," Metros said. "There are acres and acres and acres of water. In order to redirect that, many things have to happen." 
    The plan calls for two stormwater retention ponds - one between East Street and Henderlong Parkway northwest of Wells Street Park; the other between Fairview Avenue and Court Street off the southeast edge of the Birdland subdivision. 
    The first pond will need to hold 40 acre-feet of water; the second 20 acre-feet. An acre-foot is a quantity of volume one acre in area and one foot in depth. 

    The pump station - a small building that will house two large and one small pump, along with a backup diesel generator - will be located at the intersection of South and West streets, according to the plan. 
    The three items will require the purchase of property, either outright or in the form of easements, from a variety of homeowners. 
    "How we go about doing that is the next step," Ban said. He said that the coverage area and depth of the ponds can be adjusted based on property owners" wishes, so long as the meet the volume requirements, and that the ponds, which only need to be filled during rains, can be sodded and remain parts of people's "backyards." 
    "It won't be one of these ugly overflow ponds," Metros said. "They can look decent." 
    The plan calls for the two ponds to "collect" storm water, then bleed it out slowly to the pumping station at West and South streets. 
    The pumping station will force the water through a 30-inch main heading east on South Street and emptying into a drainage ditch at U.S. 231 near the old Wolohan Lumber. 
    The fourth part of the project is a sewer line that will run from the area of South and Main streets north on Main, turning east just south of downtown, then north again along East Street, and eventually working its way to the wastewater treatment plant on Merrillville Road. 
    The new sewer will relieve backups in existing sewers that flood basements, Ban said. Because the storm and sanitary sewers are combined in much of Crown Point, that backflow often includes some sanitary sewage. 
    The pipe will be 36 inches in diameter, and run for about 9,000 feet. 
    The two ponds will cost about $1.2 million, according to estimates; the pump station and accompanying force main about $3 million; and the new sewer line about $2 million. 
    Ban said plans now call for the larger pond and pump station to be done first, then the smaller pond and sewer line. 
    Metros mentioned that the sewer line could be done first if it, by itself, would eliminate sewage back-ups in basements. 
    Metros said he will lobby state and federal officials for funding, and will dedicate some sewer and capital improvement funds from the city budget to the project. 

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