Starke County Park Board Still Waiting for Concrete Repairs at Bass Lake Beach

A lack of action on concrete repairs at the Bass Lake Beach is drawing concerns from some Starke County Park Board members. Back in August, board members asked the operator of the facility, Callahan Development, LLC, to repair the seawall surrounding the beach house patio and install glacial stone to help protect it from incoming waves.

The two groups came to an agreement in October in which Callahan would repair the wall, but the county would install the stone. Little progress has been made since then.

During last week’s park board meeting, County Attorney Marty Lucas suggested that operator Richard Callahan and Assistant Manager Larry Clarich assess the situation. “Kind of what it is, it’s a little open-ended at this point,” Lucas explained. “That’s probably why it seems a little murky because what we’re really talking about is the two of you get together, look at it, and see who can do what and how much. Do you see what I’m saying? We have a goal, but we don’t have exactly how to get there yet.”

Clarich explained that Callahan hasn’t had a chance to look at the site yet, and it would be hard to do it now because the lake is frozen. But Clarich said he hopes to be able to do the work sometime between March 15 and May 1.

Still, board member Debbie Mix was concerned with the lack of progress up until now. “We need to have a plan,” she said. “We just can’t let months and months go without having a plan. Last month we said we hadn’t gotten together, there was no plan, and before that. That was also in October that was said. So my concern is that we just keep on pushing, kicking it down the road, and it’s going to be May 15 and nothing’s going to be determined.”

Lucas then suggested that Mix might want to take a more active role in overseeing the work. “Maybe you could help facilitate the communication,” he said. “I mean, to be really honest, I’m supposed to be the lawyer, not the person that goes out there and oversees construction projects.”

In any case, Clarich said the repairs also depend on the county’s cooperation when it comes to installing the stone. Board member Roger Chaffins said he’s been working on that. “If I can get the stone brought in there and it’s there waiting, if I can get the sand brought in there for the beach, it’s there waiting, that’s done,” he said. “It doesn’t have to thaw out for that to get in there. And I talked to [Surveyor] Bill Crase to see if the guy that had the stone still has it, so we can pick it up at a reasonable price, the county can. Now the next question is with Rik [Ritzler], if he wants to drive a truck in there or whatever, I don’t know.”

Since the park board doesn’t have its own budget, members decided to pursue grant funding for the stone and sand. Otherwise, it would be up to the county commissioners to figure out how to pay for the materials.