By Adam Corral
for the Churubusco News
CHURUBUSCO — Churubusco’s Town Council hosted a full house at last week’s regular meeting.
Nick Bianski and his wife, Yvonne, addressed the council about a storm tile that collapsed for the second time since February.
“I want to know where we’re at with the storm drain,” said the Bianski. “I know they had civil engineers out, they were supposed to have structural engineers out. I haven’t seen any.”
When asked about how the council members plan to proceed, Council President Frank Kessler explained two engineering firms were hired to take a look at the problem.
“They both were out,” said Bianski. “They only brought civil engineers. They haven’t brought structural engineers to look at my house. I’m seeing significant movement in my house and that area.”
Kessler explained this would be a question for Town Supervisor Jeremy Hart, who was on vacation and not present at the meeting.
“I know it takes time,” said Bianski. “But I’m getting a little agitated and concerned. I’m seeing significant damage to the structure of my house because of that storm drain. I want to have structural engineer to look at that and I want to make sure that we get these addressed as soon as possible before I have any more damage to my home.”
The resident also explained the civil engineers told him they would talk to a structural engineer based in South Bend, but after a week, no one had followed up.
“Apparently you know more than I’ve been informed of,” said Kessler. “I don’t know.”
Mark Pepple said Hart would be back from his vacation soon.
“Maybe we could set up a meeting as soon as possible, Tuesday or Wednesday, between Frank, or whoever, and Jeremy,” Pepple said. “That way we can come up with a game plan and make sure you understand exactly where we’re at moving forward with it and how we can progress as quickly as possible.”
Bianski agreed to Pepple’s proposal, though not without reminding council of his frustration. Pepple said he completely understood and would feel the same way if he were in a similar position.
“Where that storm drain runs, my gasoline comes in,” said Bianski. “I’m seeing my roof is now starting to shift, my gutters are now starting to bend, all in that area. If this drags on, it’s not going to be safe for us to stay there and that’s another issue we’re going to have to deal with.”
CUMC 5K event
The next order of business involved the Churubusco United Methodist Church. Cheryl Fleming, one of the church’s directors, stood to address the councilmen.
Fleming explained the 50th anniversary of the United Methodist Church, as a denomination, is fast approaching and the congregation has many events planned, including what brought her to the meeting, a 5K run at 5 p.m. April 21.
Fleming elaborated on the proposed route for the race as well as other logistical details, such as a make-up date for inclement weather. She also said there would be signs along the route.
“We wanted to put signs up, and we’ll take them down after the race, of things that are going to be inspirational,” Fleming said. “Things to remind us that we should be praying for our community, we should be praying for our children, and our school, and educators and administrators and those that are in service to us, police and fire department and EMTs and certainly our government.”
She said the event would be free, open to the public, and that the church would clean up afterwards.
“It’s just something fun we want to do to celebrate 50 years,” said Fleming.
The council approved the event unanimously.
New playground location discussed again
The final big order of business for the councilmen was planning the site of a new playground.
“That place over there is a swamp,” Bruce Johnson said regarding the current playground location. “There was water, standing water. I do not see that as the best place to go.”
Johnson continued, saying much work is needed to level out the area so it can be used. Kessler explained the level between the two sites is about equal. Johnson disagreed.
“Not that I saw,” Johnson said. “I was in that area for most of the mEGGa hunt. I don’t see that much standing water around what we call the “old pavilion” site compared to what I just experienced last weekend.”
Johnson, fresh from the park, said that was what he was using for reference, how much would need to be filled.
“You’re probably going to have to get it up to level with the soccer fields,” Johnson said. “Otherwise, you’re going to have drainage from the soccer fields down.”
Mark Pepple then asked Park Supervisor Rick Krider for his opinion.
“We just had 2.5 inches of rain back there and it rained during the Easter egg hunt,” Krider said. “I don’t think that’s really a good comparison. It goes down pretty fast in that area.”
Krider, who spends much time maintaining the park, said no matter the area, if there has been a lot of rain, there will be some flooding. Johnson was not swayed.
“Had it rained for two days, it seems there should have been some dry up,” Johnson said. “Rick, we had water up to almost an inch in some spots.”
Miles Wilson, head of the Churubusco Youth Foundation and the man behind the push for a new playground, then passed around designs for what the playground would look like.
Wilson explained there were plans that would be voted on by the kids who would be using it. The kids will vote with pennies. Wilson also said the budget includes funds either for extra features or site maintenance.
“Not only do we want to build it,” said Wilson. “We want to be able to maintain it. It doesn’t make sense to make that kind of an investment and not take care of it.”
Wilson also discussed the plan for dealing with drainage in light of the concerns raised by Bruce Johnson. He explained what he was passing around were only preliminary designs and that the plan could be amended as needed.
“Hopefully by the time you guys have your next council meeting, they’re voting,” said Wilson.