Merrillville agrees to restore property by Bon Aire Lake
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent November 10, 2012 8:10PM
Updated: December 12, 2012 6:42AM
MERRILLVILLE — Two years after first complaining that city workers removed railroad ties used to keep their property from eroding and tore up their yard in the process, Bon Aire subdivision residents Russell and Harriet Pillow are pleased with a compromise solution that should begin taking place this week.
Harriet Pillow said Matt Lake, executive director of the town’s stormwater utility, told her the town will be placing river rock along her shoreline at Bon Aire Lake at the town’s expense and will fix her yard after the rock is laid.
“They said they will make the yard better than, or at least as good as, it was,” Pillow said Friday.
“It’s been two long years and I won’t be happy until the town puts that rock down,” she said.
She said the town removed the railroad ties, which they used as a retaining wall, after she and her husband complained about flooding in their backyard.
The Pillows said the railroad ties also acted to shore up a willow tree near the water’s edge. The town was going to cut down the tree, which Lake said is unsafe, but decided to let it stay after the Pillows objected.
“I understand trees have a sentimental value to some people. But I talked to the Pillows about keeping away from the tree. It’s not stable,” Lake said.
Lake said a lot of the shoreline along the 21-acre lake belongs to the town, which took over the body of water located on the town’s north side from Lake County in the mid-1980s.
Lake said while there is no formal plan, the town is working to stabilize the shoreline.
He said the town treated the duckweed that formed in the lake, which some residents thought was algae, at the town’s expense.
The Pillows and some of their neighbors last year complained that the town wasn’t spraying to kill the algae. They also said at the time that the lake needed to be dredged, but Lake said then that would not happen as it would cost the town millions of dollars.
In other matters at the Stormwater Management Board meeting last week, Lake announced that trees in the 86th Street area received a “treeage” injection, which is supposed to stop the Emerald Ash Borer from destroying trees for two to three years.
“We hope this will help us weather the storm of the Emerald Ash Borer or at least reduce its spread,” Lake said.