Disclaimer: The report presented is intended only as a summary and should not be interpreted as official minutes of the Town Council. The Town Council and ABSR Board of Directors encourage the public to attend all Town Government meetings.
President Donna Norkus called the special meeting to order at 6:02 p.m. Council Members present: Donna Norkus (President), Geof Benson, Matrona Malik, and Brian O'Neil. Council member Greg Brown was absent. Also present: Clerk-Treasurer Ellen Hundt and First Deputy Marshal Ed Clapp.
Donna Norkus reported that the town is facing an emergency situation with Lake Front Drive. She stated that immediate action is needed to prevent the collapse of the road that is being undermined by serious erosion. As there is no outside monetary help from the federal, state, or county government at the current time, it is up to the town to use its resources for repair. President Norkus indicated while no funds were available from the National Park, officials there are a partner in the process.
Geof Benson described the two significant problem areas: Hutchinson and Lakeview. Work will begin on two adjacent lakefront scours near Hutchinson on Monday, December 23 with the Brown lot at the intersection of Highway 12 and Lake Shore County Road serving as a staging area. There will be no work on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but sand and limestone will begin to be moved to the area near Hutchinson on Thursday, December 26. A sand ramp with a 3 inch limestone cover will be built to allow heavy equipment to reach the affected area. The collapsed retaining wall will be either removed or crushed and rock will be brought in to create a new revetment. The repairs will include Geotech cloth over sand as well as rock revetment. The plan is to have rocks in place by January 6. (Later in the meeting, First Deputy Clapp advised that the road will be closed to traffic during the repairs. Residents on Forest and Hutchinson will be allowed to drive to their homes.)
The plan is to ask community groups (ERG and ABSR) and residents to help plant native plants and grasses at the Hutchinson site in the spring.
In the event of a road collapse on Lake Front, an emergency plan is being formulated to allow access to the properties on Forest and Hutchinson off Lake Shore County Road.
Work at Lakeview will employ 300 feet of trap bags to stem erosion. Geof Benson indicated that the IDNP will help with the repairs at Lakeview.
The initial cost estimate received by the town was $739,750 was judged to be too expensive. Subsequent bids brought the cost to $360,000. It will be treated as an approved capital project and will be funded by the General Obligation Bond.
The following questions were posed by residents:
Q1: Potential for reimbursement by the state?
A1: Not at the current time. A potential road collapse isn’t deemed an emergency by federal and state officials.
Q2: How will the emergency short-term fix affect the ability of Beverly Shores to join with other beach communities to achieve a long-term solution?
A2: The emergency needs to be addressed quickly. The affected towns can then talk about what comes next.
Q3: There is a third scour between Hutchinson and Lake Shore County Road. Will it be addressed?
A3: No. One of the scours at Hutchinson has no revetment and has nothing protecting it from the lake. The second scour at Hutchinson is protected by a revetment, but needs to be repaired in order to access the collapsed retaining wall at the adjacent scour.
Q4: What can we learn about statutory authority that allowed the Army Corps of Engineers to address the problem in previous decades that might be useful now?
A4: This is a longer term issue for investigation. The emergency needs to be addressed now. (Rick Rikoski said that the Corps declined to help until then-Senator Lugar intervened. He did not believe there was any agreement between the town and the Corps at that time.)
Q5: Do current conditions allow lakefront homes to be included in the flood plain?
A5: No. The areas are not included on FEMA maps.
Donna Norkus moved that the town accept outside bids totaling $360,000. The successful bidders include: D&M Excavating, Michigan City; City Sand, Michigan City; US Aggregates, Francesville, IN; and TrapBag, Fort Myers, Florida. The motion passed unanimously.
President Norkus thanked the town’s legal counsel for having suggested a General Obligation bond. Without it, the town would not be able to respond to the emergency.
The meeting adjourned at 7:02 PM.