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Surveyor’s office gets funds to fix Schererville sinkhole

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Updated: February 15, 2013 6:11AM



SCHERERVILLE — The surveyor’s office will be getting a temporary transfer of $250,000 to repair a sinkhole in Schererville despite staunch opposition from one council member who says the transfer circumvented the not-yet established county borrowing committee.

Lake County Surveyor George Van Til told Lake County Council members last week the process establishing the borrowing committee is taking too long and the situation in Schererville could worsen if it is not addressed quickly.

A portion of the money, $37,819, also will be used to pay for the county’ s participation in a new statewide GIS mapping program. Deadline for payment was Dec. 31. Van Til said the state extended the deadline until the council meeting to see if action would be taken.

Officials Tuesday approved the final reading of the ordinance establishing the borrowing committee, though committee members have not yet been selected.

The Spring Street Ditch sinkhole is in the parking lot of Computer Bay in the 100 block of Joliet Street and is the result of a failing old drain that runs under the street, and in a rare circumstance, under at least one downtown building. As the sinkhole expands, it could become dangerous to people and possibly significantly damage the street or building. Repairs are expected to cost about $231,000. Schererville will cover 30 percent of the cost.

The sinkhole is in the district Councilman Dan Dernulc, R-Highland. He agreed with Van Til the situation needs to be addressed.

“Once we have the borrowing committee he can go back and repay it. I think this is the best solution at this time,” Dernulc said.

Councilwoman Christine Cid, D-East Chicago, she talked to a Schererville town council member and was told the solution could probably wait until the next council meeting. She said she does not want the aerial GIS mapping approved without the borrowing committee.

Cid said there are many projects identified by the surveyor as a priority including a Little Calumet River project in her district. She asked officials to wait for the borrowing committee to review how the money is spent.

“You’re not sure what the borrowing committee will do,” Cid said.



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