Chesterton Tribune



County Tourism unit nets 46K for Native American Trail

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Executive Director of Indiana Dunes Tourism Lorelei Weimer reported progress is being made with the Native American Trail, which is planned to begin at the Dunes Visitor’s Center and wind through the surrounding land.

At yesterday’s Tourism Board meeting, Weimer said Tourism was awarded a $46,000 Lake Michigan Coastal Program grant for engineering on the project, and they still have a $10,000 Porter County Community Foundation grant that expires at the end of this year at their disposal.

The Coastal grant is a 50/50 match, but Tourism’s $23,000 can be a combination of funds and in-kind services. “Our time that’s put into it can be part of that match,” Weimer said.

A request for proposals for the engineering should follow in the coming months.

In other news, Weimer reported Rose-Hulman recently finished an engineering report on the site, and the National Park has granted approval for three buildings to be built along the trail, as long as they’re for educational purposes.

The trailhead will be in front of the Visitor Center, and most of the trail will likely be boardwalked due to wetland conditions.

Tourism has also had some productive meetings with a Miami tribe based in Fort Wayne and the Pokagon band of the Pottawatomi on how to most effectively tell stories about native flora and fauna, according to Weimer.

The stories may end up told in videos and interpretive signage. One of the key stories that has emerged from those talks is about the Monarch Butterfly, Weimer said.

“We want it to be an immersive and engaging experience that will lead people to take action,” Weimer said. “For example, we want people to go home knowing to plant milkweed for the Monarch.”

In other business, Board President Mitch Peters reported the annual Recognition of Service Excellence (R.O.S.E.) awards luncheon went well. Weimer praised Tourism Promotions Director Dustin Ritchea for coordinating the event with Visit Michigan City LaPorte.

Peters also reported he toured the Porter County Expo Center, which is currently undergoing extensive renovations.

“It really looks nice. It’s gonna be a real asset in the community,” Peters said. “It’s nice to see the County investing in its existing buildings to try to preserve them.”

Board Treasurer Richard Riley reported last month’s Inkeeper’s Tax revenue was $78,233.93--a 4.9 percent increase over April 2018.



Posted 5/17/2019




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