Winona OKs Making Court Street One Way Despite Opposition

    WINONA LAKE – Court Street, from 12th Street north to Auditorium Boulevard, will be one way despite opposition from residents.
    Approximately 20 residents attended Tuesday night’s Winona Lake Town Council meeting to express their opposition to making the street one-way.
    The council at its June 21 meeting discussed the topic and reviewed a letter from Joe Hawn, Winona Lake town marshal, who requested the traffic pattern for Court Street be changed from a one-way street going south to a one-way going north. He said the reason for the change is due to the traffic flow of the vehicles traveling on West Canal Street. When they stop at the intersection of 12th and West Canal Streets, there is nowhere for them to go. By changing Court Street to a one-way street heading north, the traffic will have a direct path to Auditorium Boulevard and create a smooth traffic pattern, Hawn said.
    Council member Rick Swaim made a motion to approve the ordinance, seconded by Robert Swanson. Peter Christos, Bruce Shaffner and Denny Duncan also voted in support of the ordinance.
    Hawn said he consulted with Warsaw Police Department Lt. Kip Shuter, Warsaw traffic administrator, who supported making the street one way.
    Jan and Jerry Nelson, Court Street residents, showed council members a diagram drawing and said they would be required to travel 365 miles more a year to get to their house by making the street one way.
    Jill Serbousek, Court Street resident, showed council members two sticks used to warn drivers of her mailbox in the winter that were broken when someone backed into her property.
    Kristine Crouch, Court Street resident, said she will be required to do a U-turn with her boat now the street is one way and that is a hardship with how narrow the street is.
    Jack Volkers, who owns apartments on Court Street and Auditorium Boulevard, said if Court Street is one way then Court Circle should be one way.
    Rob Piecuch, Court Street resident, said the one-way will force drivers to a dead end and that is a safety issue with drivers getting confused.
    Jim LeMasters, Espalande Street resident, and Art Gakstatter, who owns property on Court and Canal streets, said the ordinance is appropriate and could be revisited. Swain and Swanson said they felt the ordinance also was appropriate.
    “The current method is not working. This may inconvenience some, but it’s functional and we must move forward,” Swanson said.
    Also during the meeting, Herb Teeter, whose son lives on West Canal Street, said he is concerned with the speed of cars on the street and said he has five grandchildren whose safety he is worried about. He also had concerns with the speed of golf carts on the street and suggested a speed bump be put in.
    Hawn said he will look into the issue.
    In other business, Jim Walmer, town attorney, swore in David Swain, new deputy marshal, who replaces Malcolm Gilbert.
    Gilbert is retiring July 31 after 26-1/2 years of service to the town. A reception for Gilbert will be from 3 to 5 p.m. July 29 at the town hall.
    Swain has been a reserve officer for Winona Lake for 5-1/2 years. His duties begin Aug. 1 and his bi-weekly salary is $1,896.51.
    The council approved a 2017 budget calendar with a special budget work session at 6 p.m. Aug. 9, a public hearing at 6 p.m. Sept. 20 and official budget adoption at 6 p.m. Oct. 18.
    John Elliott, Winona Lake resident, thanked Caleb France, Craig Snow and Jim Lancaster for organizing this year’s fireworks.