Bass Lake Beach Operator Agrees to Concrete Repairs, Asks County to Install Glacial Stone (10/11)

posted Oct 11, 2017, 8:25 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library
Posted on October 11, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI 

The operators of the Bass Lake Beach have agreed to make some repairs to the property’s seawall, but they’re asking for the county’s help with some related work. The Starke County Park Board has asked the operator of the facility, Callahan Development, LLC, to stabilize the seawall surrounding the beach house patio.

It needs to be refilled with sand to protect the facility from a potential collapse, according to a group of local residents and park board members who’ve been researching the site. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has also suggested installing glacial stone around the seawall, to protect it from incoming waves and also help prevent sand erosion.

The park board previously suggested the work should be considered maintenance, making it Callahan’s responsibility to pay for it. Callahan’s attorney Todd Wallsmith responded to that request Tuesday. “The repair of the damage to the concrete surrounding the beach house, we agree would fall under the category of maintenance, and I understand they’re taking steps to address that now,” he told the park board. “The issue concerning the glacial rock, which would need to be put in, we would suggest is probably not part of maintenance but is rather a capital improvement.”

But he acknowledged that it doesn’t make sense to repair the concrete without installing the glacial stone to help control future erosion. For that, they’re asking for some help from the county. “I believe that the county has sources for stone, and certainly being a tax-exempt organization, will be able to get the stone at a much lower rate,” Wallsmith said. “They could probably do the labor at a lower rate.”

What exactly counts as maintenance and what is a capital improvement has been an ongoing debate between Callahan and county officials. But Starke County Attorney Marty Lucas said the arrangement seemed reasonable. “I mean, I think their position makes sense, in the sense that obviously, the stone wasn’t there when they acquired the place,” he said. “So they would be maintaining what they had, and the county would pick up – but obviously I can’t make a commitment on that. We don’t know what it would cost. It might not be that much, actually, for the county to do it. I’m hopeful that it might be under $2,000, actually for the county to do it, that portion of it.”

Wallsmith added that Callahan’s goal is to work together with the county. “It would be an opportunity for Callahan properties to engage in something with the county, where we aren’t at odds with each other and do something together on this,” Wallsmith said.

The park board voted to have Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler determine the costs and feasibility of installing the glacial stone. The proposal will then go to the county commissioners for funding consideration.