SOUTH WHITLEY — After debating the issue for nearly a month, the South Whitley Town Council decided that the name of Gale Hagan Memorial Park will remain unchanged.

Tonya Porter requested the council consider making a change at a council meeting in September, citing painful memories from an incident in August 2015. Porter’s son, Adam Porter, was shot and killed by David Hagan Aug. 14, who was later convicted and sentenced the following May.

While the park is technically named Gale Hagan Memorial Park, it is commonly referred to simply as Hagan Park. Gale was David’s mother.

The council thought long and hard about the decision, Town Council President Randy Cokl said.

“I’ve known Tonya and Dave for a long time and I can’t imagine the pain of going through all this, but I have struggled with this decision because I knew Gale as well because I knew the things she did for our community,” he said.

Councilmen Bill Boggs and Les Hoffman echoed Cokl, citing Mrs. Hagan’s significant contributions to town, including the establishment of the first EMS service.

While several additional options were discussed, including changing the signage around town to reflect the park’s true name, no action was taken.

Zoning issues

Jorell Tucker came to the council to discuss a zoning snafu currently halting the construction of a deck on his property. While trying to obtain a permit, Tucker discovered that his house, as well as several neighbors’, is zoned heavy industrial. Due to this zoning, new construction faces substantial setbacks from property lines, including 30 feet from the rear property line.

After he spoke with Executive Director of Planning and Building Nathan Bilger, Tucker came to the council to request a green light to allow Bilger and county staff to inspect and recommend zoning changes in town.

The council agreed to have Cokl send Bilger an email giving the town’s informal approval.

Also at the Town Council meeting

• Council appointed five members to the South Whitley Redevelopment Commission. The members – Karen Jordan, Tim Campbell, Chris Shoemaker, Bryan Rose and Nathan Haywood – will be sworn into office in January, and will receive advice from Whitley County Economic Development Corp. President Jon Myers.

Myers recommends the appointed members sit in on either a county or Columbia City redevelopment commission meeting between now and January to gain understandings of how they work.

• The council approved a pay raise increase for all town employees.