NEW BUFFALO — New Buffalo Township Supervisor Michelle Heit and Clerk Judy Zabicki participated in a May 22 New Buffalo Business Association Facebook Live chat session during which they discussed the “road diet” striping on U.S. 12 between the New Buffalo Township line south of the city and the Indiana State line that was put in place just before Memorial Day weekend.
There are two lanes of traffic, a center turn lane, and occasional right turn lanes. U.S. 12 in the New Buffalo area is scheduled to be redone next year, and the current three-lane set-up is a test run to help local leaders decide if they want to continue with the road diet or have a four-lane design as still exists on the remainder of U.S. 12 in New Buffalo.
One participant in the live chat said she saw a few drivers passing in the center turn lane.
Heit urged motorists to take caution when driving on the new stretch of road (a little over two miles), adding that the Sheriff’s Department that the township contracts with will be “keeping a little extra eye out in that area.”
“When this is done we can see the data from the summer,” she said in reference to a permanent decision on the road design.
Zabicki said more lane painting and the placement of additional signs in the road diet zone are planned in the near future.
New Buffalo City Manager David Richards said the City Council is still considering a trial road diet resolution (votes to approve and reject the plan both ended in 2-2 ties earlier this year).
During the New Buffalo Township Board’s May 20 regular meeting, New Buffalo Township Fire Chief Jamie Flick and Zabicki said upgrades involving fire hydrants, water service and the fire department keeping “fantastic” (Zabicki’s description) records on training have upped the township’s fire safety ratings enough that Zabicki said a homeowner told her his fire insurance premium dropped enough to cover his water assessment payment.
She urged township property owners to contact their fire insurance agent to check the township’s new ISO ratings.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Dan Petersen, executive director of The Pokagon Fund, encouraged township residents to participate in filling out the 2020 U.S. Census, noting that Harbor Country municipalities were behind others in Berrien County according to numbers discussed during a recent Strategic Leadership Council group call (with some local areas in the 20- to 30-percent response rate).
Heit said about 72 percent of the homes in the township are second residences, adding that the Census is being promoted on the township’s Facebook page.
Also during the May 20 Township Board meeting:
• The board was told by Julie Flick of the Sheriff’s Department that there had been a “lot of fraud type circumstances” in the past two weeks involving texts, emails and other ways of appearing to send people messages from someone they know. She said most involve asking people to buy gift cards or money orders with a time limit involved.
• Approved a $93,230 bid from Southwest Transport Company to provide water and sewer extensions for the new public safety building to be constructed along U.S. 12.
The board also agreed to pay Burkholder Excavating $42,500 for the excavation of the building site (which has been completed).
Heit said a sign is slated to go up at the site soon.
• Voted in favor of a cross connection ordinance involving water lines and inspections.
• OK’d a $1,550 survey bid from Abonmarche for 9934 Townline Ave.
• Adopted a New Buffalo Township COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that Heit said the state is asking businesses and municipalities to implement and share with employees to help prepare for re-opening.