Winona Passes Ordinance To Keep Kids From Jumping Off Bridges

(Photo Supplied / Winona Lake Town Council)

Kids jumping off the bridges in Winona Lake spurred the Town Council Tuesday to pass a new ordinance that carries a $50 fine for jumpers.

Winona Lake Town Marshal Joe Hawn said for the last two years his department has received quite a few complaints about kids jumping off the bridges into water.

“We just really needed something,” Hawn said of his suggestion to create the unlawful use of bridges ordinance. “We didn’t have any teeth to tell the kids to stop jumping off the bridges. Obviously, it’s a huge liability issue, but we didn’t have anything, a state ordinance or local ordinance, so I asked (Town Manager) Craig (Allebach) to see if it’s a possibility if we could do that. … So now we do have something to tell the kids don’t jump off that bridge or you’ll get a $50 fine.”

Also Tuesday, the council heard from Town Engineer Aaron Carl that he has completed the design for the pickleball court and walkway through the park, along with another parking lot for the town that will be located along Park Avenue directly across from the “finger lot” that runs along the west side of the road. The parking lot will be on the east side of the road and a little bit bigger than the west side lot.

The council also heard from Allebach that social distancing guidelines will be put in place for the town’s Fourth of July concert on the Tabernacle lawn and the fireworks display over the lake. On July 4, a myTeam Triumph Firecracker 5K kicks off at 8 a.m. at Winona Lake Park. At 8 p.m., the concert begins and at 10 p.m. the fireworks will be lit over the lake. Allebach said a camera placed on top of the Boat House restaurant and the possible use of a drone will allow the town to livestream the fireworks display for those who do not want to come out or should not come out for the show.

The Village at Winona Manager Nick Hauck reported that food vendors, including fair-style food, will be parked in the Chapel parking lot across from the concert area during the concert and possibly after the fireworks.

Also Tuesday, the council:

• Approved a bid from SiteWorx to demolish the old Collier’s building at the corner of Winona Avenue and Argonne Road. The building, 2499 E. Winona Ave., has been in the town’s possession since 2018 and will be coming down at a cost of $21,875.

• Rejected the only bid that came in for the 2020 trash and recycling contract. Town Attorney Adam Turner said the bid proposal window was opened in early May and only lasted for about a month. Other parties who may have wanted to bid indicated they hadn’t received notice of the bid or that it was going out to bid.

“Craig (Allebach) and I talked through this, and one of the concerns should be making sure that we have a competitive bid process where we have multiple bidders, and we also want a fair bid process,”?Turner said. “My proposal would be to go ahead and reject the one bid that came in and start the bidding process over again to allow all the parties a chance to compete against it. The concern would be opening the one bid we have would give a competitive advantage to the other ones who weren’t able to submit a bid on this deadline, and we don’t want to put anyone behind the 8-ball.”

Turner said the terms of the bid are to include the cost of the trash bins.

The council agreed to reject the bid and will announce when they reopen the process. The lone bidder was present at the meeting and said he had no questions and will submit a new bid when the time comes.

• Heard from Street Superintendent Tom Miller that he and his wife got tested for COVID-19 after four of seven employees at his wife’s job tested positive. Miller said he and his wife both tested negative, but that he felt compelled to make a public statement about the virus.

Visibly upset by the matter, Miller said, “It was rather unnerving at times, but I felt that it was important for me to take leadership with my staff and with the public moreover because we knew about this, and so we got tested and we both came out negative, which is God’s blessing, thank you. I’ve been back to work since Monday (after he and his wife both quarantined), so I think the message I’m going to send out to everybody is don’t think that this is over. Social distancing is important. The hand sanitizer, the masks, we don’t want to go back to where we were back in March.”?

Miller said his department is very strict about their cleaning and distancing procedures.

“We do everything, but it just continues to rear its ugly head, frankly, and I think that as a public servant we need to be concerned about our social distancing, we need to be concerned about how we interact. … Going through that, it’s just amazing how many people I come into contact with and how badly you feel.”