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Feature Stories for July 13, 2000

The STAR is distributed every Thursday.  
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Council to inspect dredge site
Contamination fears drive attempt to halt sludge deposit

By Andrew Steele 
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - County Council President Will Smith (D-Gary) told the Fairways subdivision resident campaigning against the Lake Dalecarlia dredging project that council members would visit the area in order to deliberate about whether to grant a zoning request necessary for the project to be undertaken. 
    Fairways resident Suzanne Eovaldi pleaded with the council Tuesday to oppose the project, saying it would ruin the quality of life in her subdivision. 
    The basins where sludge will be deposited are too close to Fairways homes and directly over the aquifer that supplies Fairways' drinking water, she said. 
    Lake Dalecarlia representatives were there to counter Eovaldi's assertions. 
   "Property Owners Association President Michael Mucha said "we have gone through the entire process with (the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Indiana Department of Environmental Management)." 
    He pointed out that the aquifer Eovaldi fears will be contaminated also serves Lake Dale residents. 
    "Any concern for damaging the aquifer would be shared by all the residents of the community," Mucha said. 
    Concerns that E. coli contaminated water would leach down into the aquifer were rejected by Lake Dale's engineer, and he said Eovaldi's concern that the sludge pond would reach heights of 120 feet and be there five years are unfounded. 
    Mucha said 17 different sites were considered, but the land that Lake Dale plans to use was the best logistically. 
    And now, "the other sites have been developed," he said. 
    The matter will be reviewed and voted upon by the county Plan Commission before the council takes it up. 
    In other business, the council approved an ordinance to establish a day care center for county employees. 
    The center would be funded by fees charged to employees who use it, according to the ordinance. 
    Councilmen Larry Blanchard (R-Crown Point), Bernadette Costa (D-Hammond), and Donald Potrebic (D-Hobart) opposed the plan.

Crown Point considers Willowdale annexation
Septic concerns lead to speculation over sewers, water connection options 

By Andrew Steele 
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - The City Council's Annexation Committee plans to meet within a month to discuss annexing the Willowdale subdivision, an unincorporated island of about 50 homes between Timothy Ball Elementary School and Whitehawk subdivision. 
    Other "islands" of unincorporated land within the city limits, such as Liberty Park, may also be discussed. 
    Annexation of Willowdale was originally considered three years ago, but homeowners withdrew their support when they were told they would have to pay about $2,400 per year for 10 years to fund utility extension and street and sidewalk upgrades. 
    This time, though, City Engineer Jeff Ban will prepare a report on the costs of annexation if residents are only required to hook up to city water and sewer utilities, and not make the street and sidewalk upgrades. 
    Mayor James Metros had expressed opposition to that option at the June 28 Board of Public Works meeting, when Willowdale resident Dennis Hazi was given permission to hook up to city sewers. But at the July 5 City Council meeting Metros said that if the issue is "failing septics and people's health, we've got to take a look at it." 
    Hazi was given permission to hook up to city sewers because his septic system has failed. The fear that more septic systems may have problems, now or in the future, prompted the renewed interest in annexation. 
    Officials have expressed objection to allowing a substantial number of residents in an unincorporated area to connect to city utilities. 
    Basically, "if you want sewer and water, you come into the city," Metros said. 

    Metros noted that Liberty Park was allowed to connect to sewer and water without being annexed, and whenever the city has expressed interest in annexing the neighborhood, residents have objected vehemently, even though they agreed not to remonstrate against annexation when they were granted access to the utilities. 
    Councilman James Wirtz (R-at large), who has long objected to unincorporated "islands" in the city, suggested taking up the subject of annexing Liberty Park. 
    "It really is a thorn for us to sit here as a city and have 100, 150 homes right out there in the middle of our city and it's not part of the city," Wirtz said. He said because of Liberty Park property owners' agreement not to remonstrate, "we have the right to annex tomorrow." 
    But he wondered whether "it's worthwhile to resurrect hostilities."



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