A federal program allowing counties to make low-interest business loans
could be instrumental in the development of an indoor sports complex
proposed for the southeast corner of Ind. 49 and the Indiana Toll Road in
At their Sept. 7 meeting, the Porter County Commissioners approved an
allocation of $8.5 million in recovery-zone bonds available through the
American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009.
The act enables businesses like the sports complex developers—Portage-based
Persistence LLC—to borrow money at a low interest rate, said John Shepherd,
who directs the Porter County Redevelopment Commission.
The complex would be one of the first in the nation to be built using loans
from the ARRA money.
The commissioners in April voted to declare the county a “recovery zone” in
order to access subsidies through the ARRA act.
Shepherd said the subsidy is very much like a traditional industrial revenue
bond, although it is officially referred to as a recovery zone bond.
The commissioners, who also form the county redevelopment commission,
allocated the $8.5 million to Persistence LLC, which must now go before the
Chesterton Economic Development Commission.
Shepherd said that once Persistence LLC has its bond commitments, those
bonds would be bundled and then assigned to the Chesterton EDC, which would
act as bond administrator.
Shepherd emphasized that local taxpayers are in no way on the hook for the
“They’re private bonds,” he said. “It will not be a debt to Chesterton if
they decide to use the money.”
Developers can also ask other counties for Recovery Act subsidies, and on
Tuesday Persistence LLC received a commitment of $6.8 million from the
LaPorte County Commissioners.
Shepherd said he believes Persistence LLC is currently lining up about $40
million for the indoor sports complex.
A new hotel has also been proposed as part of the development.